I have not followed this issue closely but am at least aware that the crux of the controversy is not that embryonic stem cell research has been banned. Rather, the federal government is simply not funding such research. (In fact, my state, California, is funding the research big-time, to the tune of $3 billion, probably more than Congress would.) The widespread notion that any ban exists has been a useful tool of advocates for federal funding and is the result of sloppy reporting by the MSM.
In this Daily Standard piece Eric Cohen and William Kristol clarify the moral and policy issues and make some proposals that Senator Frist and his colleagues need to consider.