About time

From the AP, via TPM:
President Barack Obama said Monday he is allowing federal taxpayer dollars to fund significantly broader research on embryonic stem cells because "medical miracles do not happen simply by accident," and promised his administration would make up for the ground lost under his predecessor.
Good. Finally.

Obviously, I am not from the camp that believes that a clump of undifferentiated stem cells are a person. Having not yet formed into nerve cells (by definition), they lack the basic components for thought and feeling. I've never seen the equivalence between the destruction of a clump of cells and the murder of a human being. But even supposing that there was a moral imperative to prevent stem cell research because of a sincere belief that the embryos destroyed are human lives, the ban did nothing to "save" them.
Bush limited the use of taxpayer money to only the 21 stem cell lines that had been produced before his decision. He argued he was defending human life because days-old embryos — although typically from fertility clinics and already destined for destruction — are destroyed to create the stem cell lines. [emphasis mine]
That's right. The embryos in question were already on their way to being destroyed. Stem cell research would have allowed some good to be made of them, as otherwise they would simply be discarded. Bush saved no "lives," but did manage to impede medical science.

I don't believe that stem cell research will cure all our ills, but it is certainly a promising avenue of investigation. I am pleased that Obama has fulfilled this particular campaign promise, and has removed a useless barrier to medical advancement.


  1. Nancy Reagan expressed her approval, not surprisingly.


  2. An update! The anti-science Democratic controlled Congress slipped the Dickey-Wicker amendment into the 2009 Federal budget. This amendment overturned the President's announcement, since it prohibits "research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death" from receiving Federal funds. Thus are Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid impeding medical science.

    I wonder what else was slipped into the bill? And I wonder if the President will take on the powerful anti-science forces that control the Democratic party and have led to this sad episode?