George W. Bush has indicated he will block the Senate's decision to allow state cash to be used to fund research into using embryonic stem cells to tackle disease.
Despite strong public support and the Senate's 63 to 37 backing, the Whitehouse has said Bush would swoop quickly to crush plans to loosen restrictions. Spokesman Tony Snow confirmed: "He is fulfilling a promise that he has long made and he is keeping it."
Bush effectively put a moratorium on US stem cell research in 2001, shortly after coming to office. Groups have recently announced plans to source private money to make the necessary investment for the field to progress.
Snow said: "The president is not going to get on the slippery slope of taking something living and making it dead for the purposes of scientific research."
"The simple answer is he thinks murder's wrong."
The news will disappoint pro-research campaigners, who had hoped Bush would recognise the change in political and public mood on the issue since his inauguration and pull back from imposing his personal moral stance.
They point out that the embryos researchers would use are surplus from IVF treatment, and are currently destroyed anyway.®