"Our concern is that this action has the potential to delay development of important new therapies by cutting off a promising avenue of research," said Alan I. Leshner, the chief executive officer of AAAS and executive publisher of the journal Science.
The president vetoed a similar bill that passed the Senate and House of Representatives last year. This year's measure won strong bi-partisan support in the U.S. House and Senate, but fell just short of the two-thirds supermajority needed to override the veto.
While Bush signed a separate Executive Order to support other stem cell research, AAAS "strongly believes" that all avenues of stem cell research must be explored, the non-partisan association said a statement.
The following is the full text of the AAAS statement:
"The President has again vetoed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, which would expand federal support for embryonic stem cell research. AAAS, the world's largest general scientific society, stands with a broad coalition of Americans spanning all parties and faiths that supports this bill.
"The scientific consensus is that embryonic stem cell research is an extremely promising approach to developing more effective treatments for devastating conditions like diabetes, spinal cord injuries, and Parkinson's disease. The bill would mandate that such research be allowed to compete for federal funding while following strict ethical guidelines.
"The Executive Order is not a substitute for the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act. The new approaches addressed by the order are still in the early stages of development and appear to already be eligible for NIH funding. AAAS strongly believes that it is only through federal support of diverse avenues of stem cell research, including especially embryonic stem cell research, that we may better understand the potential value and limitations of each approach.
Contact: Earl Lane
American Association for the Advancement of Science