The link between embryonic stem cell research and the abortion debate was tenuous at best. Most of the stem cells from embryos were not obtained from aborted fetuses. Far more came from miscarriages. This is still the case. The argument then came largely from ignorance and shouting. Even if you are totally against abortion, embryonic stem cells never really had anything to do with abortions. It only occasionally coincided with the bi-products.
As for this whole "federal funding" nonsense... If we really want to curtail the spending of money, let's address the real issues. Almost a quarter of federal money goes into the military. Our aggressive wars in the middle east have done more harm than good, the many bases we use to keep a presence in foreign countries is useless and costly. The Cold War is over. There are no substantial military threats in the world, and none at all that would be resolved with large ground forces. The nuclear armaments of Iran and North Korea may be a problem, but that calls for a technological solution, not one of manpower. We waste money on tools for killing rather than for promoting life.
Another 40% goes into social security and medicare/medicaid. Broken systems designed to milk the young for the benefit of the old. Because we build a society around debt, no one actually has any money to care for themselves in old age, and we allow the profit-focused insurance and drug companies to dictate the prices of the medical industry. Most of that 40% go into those insurance and drug companies.
Paying attention? Half of federal money goes into military contracts, insurance companies, and drug companies. HALF. Stem cell research is a drop in the bucket.
As to the benefits of stem cell research, it has already shown promising results in repairing all sorts of injuries, from brain damage to nerve damage. Paraplegics could be able to walk again, and autistic children could have full cognition. Even if stem cells are not a panacea, they can still be used to treat millions of people and improve their lives.