CRAWFORD, Texas -- President Bush said Saturday that his decision to limit but not ban federally financed embryonic stem cell studies balances the promise and dangers of the potentially lifesaving research.
"As we go forward, I hope we'll always be guided by both intellect and heart, by both our capabilities and our conscience," Bush said in his weekly radio address.
As he did in his nationally televised address Thursday evening, the president explained the choice he has made: "I have concluded that we should allow federal funds to be used for research on these existing stem cell lines where the life and death decision has already been made."
Bush said he would allow some federal funding for research on human embryonic stem cells, but would restrict it to a limited number of cell lines -- self-sustaining colonies that hold the promise of medical breakthroughs.
He said he took his time making that decision but did not do so under emotional strain.
"I didn't agonize; I thought, I spent a lot of time on it, I listened to people," Bush told ABC News as he described the process in an interview Friday.
The White House said the National Institutes of Health have identified more than 60 stem cell lines that meet the president's strict ethical standards at laboratories in the United States and aboard.
Some researchers said, however, that 60 lines are far too few.
Dr. Harold Varmus, a Nobel laureate who headed the NIH under President Clinton, said researchers need a large number of stem cell lines to treat patients who have very different types of immune sensitivities.
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