In July 2006 the Senate passed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act.1 The House of Representatives had passed the bill, referred to as H.R. 810, in May 2005. The day after the Senate vote, President Bush vetoed the legislation. It was the first time he exercised the veto power in almost six years in office. That day, the House voted to override the veto. The vote was 235 to 193, less than the two-thirds majority needed to set aside a presidential veto.
H.R. 810 did not aim to legalize human embryonic stem cell research. It already was legal. It would, however, have expanded federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research. On its face, the proposed statute appeared to be a fairly straightforward appropriations bill. In fact, the bill sat at the center of a far-reaching and intense public debate about embryos, abortion, personhood, and the character of society.
Janet L. Dolgin,
What’s an Embryo?: The Debate About Human Embryonic Stem Cells Hofstra Horizons 4
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