Candidates' positions are categorized as Pro (Yes), Con (No), Not Clearly Pro or Con, or None Found. Candidates who have changed their positions are listed as Now their most recent position. Candidates are listed by party and in alphabetical order by last name. Black & white photos indicate candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria for inclusion.
Should the federal government fund embryonic stem cell research?
"Today, with the Executive Order I am about to sign... we will lift the ban on federal funding for promising embryonic stem cell research. We will vigorously support scientists who pursue this research. And we will aim for America to lead the world in the discoveries it one day may yield...
Medical miracles do not happen simply by accident. They result from painstaking and costly research – from years of lonely trial and error, much of which never bears fruit – and from a government willing to support that work...
As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. I believe we have been given the capacity and will to pursue this research – and the humanity and conscience to do so responsibly." Mar. 9, 2009 Barack Obama
Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, stated the following in a Feb. 11, 2007 Associated Press article titled "Romney Wraps Self in Reagan Lingo":
"I don't believe that somatic cell nuclear transfer or cloning and embryo farming are appropriate and would not pursue federal funding of those forms of stem cell research." Feb. 11, 2007 Mitt Romney
[Editor's Note: Mitt Romney said the following in a Mar. 19, 2009 interview with CNN's Larry King: “I support stem cell research. I do not support creating new embryos for the purpose of taking away the life of that embryo, and taking stem cells from those embryos. There are a lot of better ways than getting stem cells from --
KING: Even though they're probably never going to be lives?
ROMNEY: If you create them in the laboratory, you're creating new life. And I wouldn't do that for the purpose of research, but there are fortunately much better ways of doing it, which has now been proven by scientists across the country."]
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives (R-GA), stated the following in a Sep. 29, 2011 speech in Des Moines, IA:
"I am very much for adult stem cells research. I am very much for stem cells research that comes from, for example, any device other than killing an embryo. But I am opposed to getting involved in a process of killing children in order to get research materials. And I think, in finding, you look at what’s with stem cell research, we have less and less demand that you have anything except regular stem cells because we’re learning how to use them. So I think some of that an ideological fight, not a scientific fight.” Sep. 29, 2011 Newt Gingrich
[Editor's Note: Prior to Newt Gingrich's Sep. 29, 2011 Con position above, he held a Pro position as indicated in his Oct. 2006 interview with Discover magazine.]
"I think the federal government needs to set an example by making sure that when it is the funding source for such research, it is subject to serious ethical guidelines. I am against human cloning research, and I am against research on aborted fetuses. Having said that, I would not seek to ban research on [embryonic] stem cells in fertility clinics.” Oct. 2006 Newt Gingrich
Ron Paul, US Representative (R-TX), stated the following in a June 25, 2007 article "Rights of Taxpayers Is Missing Element in Stem Cell Debate," paul.house.gov:
"Our founding fathers devised a system of governance that limited federal activity very narrowly. In doing so, they intended to keep issues such as embryonic stem cell research entirely out of Washington’s hands. They believed issues such as this should be tackled by free people acting freely in their churches and medical associations, and in the marketplace that would determine effective means of research...
As a physician, I am well aware that certain stem cells have significant medical potential and do not raise the moral dilemmas presented by embryonic stem cell research. My objection is focused on the issue of federal funding. Unfortunately, in the Washington environment of 'either subsidize it, or else ban it,' it is unlikely there will be much focus given to the issue of federal funding." June 25, 2007 Ron Paul
Rick Santorum, former US Senator (R-PA), stated the following on his campaign website article, "Santorum Record on Defending the Dignity of Every Human Life," available at ricksantorum.com (accessed Feb. 13, 2012):
"On the important bioethics issues facing the nation, he [Santorum] stood firm on his principles of prohibiting federal funding from being used for the exploitation and destruction of human embryos for scientific purposes while he sought to advance adult and other non-controversial stem cell research to aid in the fight against disease." Feb. 13, 2012 Rick Santorum