There are two types of stem cell research, embryonic/fetal and adult. In 2001, when Bush initiated the so-called ban, it wasn't really a ban at all. It was actually more about government limiting its funding to embryonic stem cell research within the U.S. Also, more progress has been made using adult stem cells in treatment. Two women, who had suffered spinal cord injuries due to an accident, walked into a press conference after having had treatment utilizing adult stem cells from their own olfactory tissue. We are currently treating over 58 different types of diseases using adult stem cell research, including Parkinson's and juvenile diabetes.
Apart from the obvious ethical issues regarding fetal stem cell research (obtaining embryonic stem cells destroys the embryos), there are big safety concerns as well. Fetal stem cell therapy has been producing less than desired results. A boy, now 17, treated with fetal stem cells in 2001, developed tumors in his brain and spine (http://medicine.plosjournals.
The lack of funding from the private sector is also a clear indicator that it is not worth capitalizing on, because hard data does not back the imminent cure touted by fetal stem cell supporters.
So, should your tax dollars still be spent on fetal stem cell research? Thanks to activists still touting the benefits of fetal stem cell research, the state of California, which is bankrupt as we speak, has even borrowed 3 billion dollars to fund embryonic stem cell research.
To read more, go here and here.