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Obama clears the way for irrelevant stem cell research

March 10, 2009

People who know little about stem cell research are cheering Obama’s decision to lift Bush’s ban on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

Many people seem to think that this executive order lifts a ban on human embryonic stem cell research. But in fact, the ban imposed by Bush stopped only U.S. federal funding of embryonic stem cell (hesc) research using cells from new embryos. How much of a window did Bush leave for science?

  • There was still federal funding for hesc on the 14 existing lines of cells.
  • There was still federal funding for non-embryonic stem cell research
  • There was still funding by foreign governments
  • There was still private funding

Obama positioned his decision as a choice between science and… something else.   “It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda _ and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology,” Obama said.

But the decision was nothing if not idealogical. Obama’s beliefs have no qualms about destroying a fetus. The Pope, among others, is more concerned with the ethical considerations involved. One of those “others” is a leading scientist in the field of embryonic stem cell research, who said that if you’re not concerned about the ethics of harvesting embryos, then you haven’t thought about the issue long enough. Well, Obama isn’t worried.

But not only does Obama discount the moral choice involved, but he ignores the science as well. Science has found nothing fruitful from hesc research. But many other types of stem cell research HAVE been productive. In 2007, Charles Krauthammer (who was invited to Obama’s signing ceremony for this order) highlighted an advance that allows the creation of stem cells from amniotic fluid. In Nov. of 2007, another advance, allowing adult cells to be turned into what are effectively embryonic stem cells. And just last week, another step forward.

So, Bush steered federal funds away from the destruction of embryos. And now we no longer have to destroy embryos at all.

Does Obama just hate nascent life that much?

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