Democratic Senator Tom Harkin says President Obama has made an “historic” move today by lifting the ban which prevented the use of new embryonic stem cells in federally-funded research. 

In 2001, President Bush signed an executive order which banned the use of embryonic stem cell lines created after that date. Senator Harkin says President Obama’s decision to lift Bush’s ban is “an historic day” for “patients suffering from disease.” Harkin says it’s also a banner day “for those…who have fought for more than eight years to free up our best scientists to pursue stem cell research to its fullest.” Harkin wants Congress to follow Obama’s action and pass a law so future presidents can’t reverse today’s move.

From the other side of this debate, Congressman Steve King says Obama has shown “no respect for the…objections of life-loving, tax-paying Americans” who believe embryonic stem cell research “involves the destruction” of human life. King is a Republican from Kiron in western Iowa.