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Republicans Rally Against Obama On Stem Cells

(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Before signing an Executive Order this morning that lifted the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, President Obama said that a majority of Americans "have come to a consensus that we should pursue this research; that the potential it offers is great, and with proper guidelines and strict oversight the perils can be avoided."

However, not included in that "consensus," are conservatives and Republican lawmakers and organizations that have started an opposition rally cry.

Critics of the research argue embryonic cells are destroyed while scientists search for cures for Parkinson's disease, spinal injuries and other afflictions.

House Republican Leader John Boehner said the president's repeal of the ban, "runs counter to President Obama's promise to be a president for all Americans. For a third time in his young presidency, the president has rolled back important protections for innocent life, further dividing our nation at a time when we need greater unity to tackle the challenges before us."

Boehner said he fully supports stem cell research, yet he feels research funding should not come tax payers pockets.

"Politicians in Washington would be well-served to recognize this fact before they ask taxpayers to subsidize the destruction of innocent human life simply to advance a particular agenda," the minority leader's statement continued.

The top Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, called the president's reversal of former president George W. Bush's 2001 ban a "troubling shift."

"With this announcement, the government is, for the first time, incentivizing the creation and destruction of human embryos at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer," McConnell said.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor released a statement which said, "unfortunately, today the Administration wasted an opportunity to unite our country around these ethically and scientifically sound innovations by allowing the use of taxpayer money for embryo-destructive stem cell research, which millions of Americans find morally reprehensible. This divisive action will divert scarce federal resources away from innovative and proven adult stem cell research."

Sen. David Vitter , R-La., also cried foul, issuing a statement which said embryonic stem cell research, "is an issue that many Americans have deep concerns about. The restrictions put in place by the Bush administration reflected those concerns and recognized the value and sanctity of all human life. I'm saddened that President Obama has chosen to set aside the views of so many Americans and reversed these restrictions that were put in place to protect these valuable human embryos."

Conservative organizations have also joined the opposition campaign. The Catholic League sent an email to supporters Monday titled, "Obama to okay killing embryos."

The email argued that, "Obama has stepped on a slope so slippery that many of his supporters may eventually regret he did so."

The National Right to Life Committee titled their response statement, "Obama Order Opens Door to Widespread Killing of Embryonic Humans in Government-Funded Research." "It is a sad day when the federal government will fund research that exploits living members of the human species as raw material for research," spokesman Douglas Johnson said.

"Obama's order also places our society on a very steep, very slippery slope. Many researchers will not be satisfied to use only so-called surplus embryos."

Update From CBS News' Jill Jackson: Co-chair of the House Pro-Life Caucus, Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., told reporters, "Mr. Obama is way behind the times," at a press conference Monday afternoon.

"Making Americans pay for embryo-destroying stem cell research is not change we can believe is politics," he added.

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