Communications Department

Polls shows majority opposes funding of embryo-killing research

May 16, 2005 | Killing Embryos

The press release reproduced below was issued on May 16, 2005, by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Department of Communications
3211 Fourth Street, NE
Washington, D.C.  20017

FROM: William Ryan
O:  202-541-3200
H:  202-686-1824

WASHINGTON– A majority of Americans, 52 percent, oppose federal
funding of embryonic stem cell research while just 36 percent support
it, according to a new poll commissioned by the Secretariat for Pro-Life
Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Such funding is being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives,
which may soon vote on a bill (H.R. 810) to fund research requiring
human embryos to be destroyed for their stem cells.

When respondents were told that scientists disagree on whether
embryonic stem cells, or stem cells from adult tissues and umbilical
cord blood, may end up being most successful in treating diseases, 60%
favored funding only the research avenues that raise no moral problem,
while 22% favored funding all stem cell research including the kind that
involves destroying embryos.

“It is always wrong for government to promote the destruction of
innocent human life,” said Richard M. Doerflinger, Deputy Director of
the USCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities.  “To do so when a clear
majority of the taxpayers themselves reject this approach would be
especially irresponsible.”

The questions were part of a national survey conducted by International
Communications Research, which polled over one thousand American adults
by telephone May 6-11.  A comparison of the results with an identical
poll from last year shows a clear trend against funding stem cell
research that requires destroying early human embryos.  In August 2004,
Americans opposed funding the research 47 percent to 43 percent.  The
follow-up question on kinds of stem cell research has received a more
consistent response, with the 2004 poll showing a 61% to 23% margin in
favor of funding only morally unproblematic avenues of research.

The new findings are also consistent with a recent Winston Group poll
of Republicans commissioned by GOP Congressmen supporting H.R. 810.  The Winston poll sponsors have touted a 57- to 40-percent poll result
seeming to favor embryonic stem cell research among Republicans; but
that poll showed just 36 percent of Republicans in favor of expanded
federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, and 58 percent in favor
of President Bush’s policy of limited funding or no government funding
at all.

“Congress should not be misled on this important issue,” said
Doerflinger.  “Most Americans oppose federal funding of research which
requires destroying human embryos.”

The International Communications Research poll questions and results
appear below.

# # # # #

Questions asked by International Communications Research, a national
research firm headquartered in Media, Pennsylvania.  A weighted sample
of 1010 American adults was surveyed by telephone May 6-11, 2005, with a
margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.

1.  Stem cells are the basic cells from which all of a person’s tissues
and organs develop. Congress is considering the question of federal
funding for experiments using stem cells from human embryos. The live
embryos would be destroyed in their first week of development to obtain
these cells. Do you support or oppose using your federal tax dollars for
such experiments?

Support         36.0%
Oppose         51.6%
Don’t know    10.5%
Refused          1.9%

2.  Stem cells for research can be obtained by destroying human
embryos. They can also be obtained from adults, from placentas left over
from live births, and in other ways that do no harm to the donor.
Scientists disagree on which source may end up being most successful in
treating diseases. How would you prefer your tax dollars to be used this
year for stem cell research?

(Options rotated)
Supporting all methods, including those that require destroying
human embryos, to see which will be most successful     22.4%
Supporting research using adult stem cells and other alternatives,
to see if there is no need to destroy human embryos for research.

Neither (volunteered)    7.8%
Don’t know      8.0%
Refused       1.6%

Categories: Killing Embryos