Aug. 9, 2001: President announces support for limited embryonic stem cell research

President George W. Bush says he supports federal funding for limited stem-cell research.
3:25 | 08/03/18

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Transcript for Aug. 9, 2001: President announces support for limited embryonic stem cell research
Good evening President Bush is about to make public his single most controversial and may be important decision since he took office. Whether to provide federal funds for research on stem cells from human embryos. The White House has asked the television networks for ten minutes in prime time so that the president can announce his decision it will be his first address to the nation. ABC's John Yang is joining us from Crawford Texas where the president is vacationing in John it would appear. With the leading option now being discussed is a compromise that would permit a funding some funding for limited research on embryonic stem cell. That's right Charlie groups have been dealing with the administration very closely on this issue are increasingly convinced that that's what's gonna happen tonight that there'll be some. A limited funding for eye research on existing embryos stem cells from existing embryos. So did an attempt at a compromise on an issue that has doubled Mr. Bush brought more than two months he's been consulting with experts and science and medicine ethics and religion. Trying to balance the hope of scientific research with his firm conviction that life begins at conception. Today the White House released a photo of the president preparing for tonight's address. During the election candidate bush flatly oppose federal funding for the research. Since then President Bush has found the issue more complicated. I think it's fair after consulting with dozens of people. That the president like the American people realize this is a very complex. Issue. Make complex decision the president could stand the researchers the Pope urged him to do last month agreed to fund it as many scientists want. Or fashion a compromise. Perhaps along the lines proposed by Republican senator Bill Frist a surgeon and abortion rights opponent. Fund research using discarded embryos. And and creating embryos specifically for research. What ever he does the president's decision has enormous political implications and is sure to anger key voting blocs. Supporters of the research say stem cells may hold the cure for many common life threatening ailments. This research offers a potential to eliminating diseases. We actually save millions of lives among them alzheimer's sufferers including President Reagan. That argument is suede even some Republican opponents of abortion rights. I don't think I can look. Nancy Reagan in the this and say it's safe I'm not gonna do my best of trying to solve the problem of alzheimer's. Outside the White House today social conservatives praised the president will oppose federal funding for the research and warning you'll pay our political price if he does not. If President Bush clearly breaks his campaign promised any alienate the core base of his party. Which is to pro family pro leg movement what ever Mr. Bush says tonight it will not be the final word. If the president fall short of the expectations of many in the senate he would be my expectation that we would take the legislation. Sometime this fall. While we don't know the details of what he's gonna say and won't know until he says it tonight. It does appear there will be a compromise put forward that will allow federal funding for a limited embryonic stem cell research. Tonight the president will explain his reasoning to the American people to rally. All right thanks John Yang down in Texas.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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