Timeline of Stem Cell Debate
Nov. 5, 1998: The first stem cells are isolated by scientists at the University of Wisconsin and Johns Hopkins University. Stem cells can develop into any tissue, but the process is controversial because it requires destroying human embryos. Post Story
Aug. 9, 2001: President Bush declares federal funding will go to research only select stem cell lines derived from destroyed embryos left over at fertility clinics. States retain the ability to appropriate money for research or to restrict it. Post Story However, scientists say some of the 64 designated cell lines are fragile. Post Story
Nov. 25, 2001: Scientists in Massachusetts perform the first cloning of human embryos. In a process called therapeutic cloning or somatic cell nuclear transfer, cloned embryonic stem cells could generate replacement tissues that patients' bodies would not reject. Post Story
Nov. 2, 2004: In Proposition 71, Californians vote to spend $3 billion over 10 years on stem cell research, making the state the first to fund such research; 59 percent of the state's voters support the move.
Jan. 11, 2005: New Jersey's governor announces the state will fund a $150 million stem cell research center and promises to champion a ballot initiative to allocate another $230 million.
May 20, 2005: Bush vows to veto any legislation that would ease the restrictions he imposed on stem cell research in 2001. He has not yet used a presidential veto. Post Story
May 24, 2005: The House approves a bill to loosen Bush's restrictions on federal funding for stem cell research by a vote of 238 to 194. In voting in favor of the bill, 50 Republicans break with Bush. Post Story
May 26, 2005: The bill that matches the one passed by the House is introduced in the Senate with the crucial support of Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah).
May 31, 2005: Connecticut lawmakers earmark $100 million for stem cell research over 10 years in an effort to help its biotech industry compete with California and New Jersey.
July 13, 2005: Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich circumvents the legislature using an executive order to dedicate $10 million for stem cell studies after bills allocating funds for the research were voted down or shelved without a vote.
July 29, 2005: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) announces his support of an effort to loosen Bush's restrictions on stem cell research, putting him at odds with the Bush administration. Post Story
August 21, 2005: Scientists convert ordinary skin cells into what appear to be embryonic stem cells -- without having to use human eggs or make new human embryos in the process. Post Story
April 6, 2006: Maryland. Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) signs stem cell legislation which will authorize $15 million for stem cell research in the upcoming year. In the wake of a 2001 executive order by President Bush that limited federal support for embryonic stem cell research, five states have agreed to provide money - Connecticut, Illinois, California, Maryland and New Jersey. Post Story
June 7, 2006: Harvard announces multimillion-dollar program to create cloned human embryos as sources of medically promising stem cells. Post Story
July 17, 2006: The Senate opens debate on bill that matches H.R. 810, which would ease Bush's restrictions. Matching bill passed the House May 24, 2005. Senate also opens debate on two other stem cell bills. One would encourage research into creating stem cell lines without destroying human embryos and the other would ban the creation of a fetus solely for the purpose of destroying it and harvesting its body parts. President Bush says despite divided GOP, he will not ease policy and if passed will likely veto. Post Story
July 18, 2006: Senators vote 63-37 to approve the House-passed bill that would allow federal funding for medical research on stem cells to be discarded by fertility clinics. President Bush is expected to veto the bill, and there is not enough support in both houses to override it. Post Story
July 19, 2006: In the first veto of his presidency, Bush vetoes the stem cell bill at a White House ceremony where he was joined by children produced by what he called "adopted" embryos. Post Story