Obama Lifts Restrictions on Stem Cell Research

March 9th, 2009 by

President Obama has overturned the restrictions on the federal funding of stem-cell research that were set in place by the Bush administration in August 2001, when President Bush limited funding because of “fundamental questions about the beginnings of life and the ends of science.”

President Obama showed his lack of concern for these “fundamental questions” when he made these statements:

Our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values…

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…

Promoting science ‘is about letting scientists like those here today do their jobs, free from manipulation or coercion, and listening to what they tell us, even when it’s inconvenient — especially when it’s inconvenient.’

Restrictions from the Bush administration on stem cell research allowed scientists to work with stem cells which were not obtained through the exploitation or destruction of human embryos.  Those restrictions are now lifted:

“The president is, in effect, allowing federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research to the extent that it’s permitted by law — that is, work with stem cells themselves, not the derivation of stem cells,” Varmus said in a conference call with reporters Sunday.

While conceding that “the full promise of stem cell research remains unknown” and “should not be overstated,” Obama nevertheless expressed hope that the order will help spur faster progress in the search for cures to afflictions such as Parkinson’s disease, cancer and spinal cord injuries…

Researchers highly value embryonic stem cells because of their potential to turn into any organ or tissue cell in the body. Stem cells have this ability for a short time. A few days before the embryo would implant in the uterus, it starts to develop into specific cells that will turn into skin or eyes or other parts of a developing fetus.

When the embryo is 4 or 5 days old, scientists extract the stem cells and put them in a petri dish. With the removal of these stem cells — of which there may be about 30 — the embryo is destroyed.

Several polls from different sources indicate that the majority of Americans were in favor of these restrictions being lifted.  Scientists are hoping to use stem cell research to eventually develop treatments for people with diabetes, cancer, spinal injuries, and many more debilitating conditions, which garners support from many Americans.  However, the ethics involved in embryonic stem cell research are questionable.  Some opponents of the bill have this to say about stem cell research:

“Advancements in science and research have moved faster than the debates among politicians in Washington, D.C., and breakthroughs announced in recent years confirm the full potential of stem cell research can be realized without the destruction of living human embryos,” House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Sunday.

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, said the Bush policy imposed proper ethical limits on science.

“My basic tenet here is I don’t think we should create life to enhance life and to do research and so forth,” Shelby said Sunday. “I know that people argue there are other ways. I think we should continue our biomedical research everywhere we can, but we should have some ethics about it.”

Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America [says this]: “President Obama’s order places the worst kind of politics above ethics. Politics driven by hype makes overblown promises, fuels the desperation of the suffering and financially benefits those seeking to strip morality from science.”

President Obama set his “ethical limits” at using stem cells for human cloning.  Such cloning, he said, “is dangerous, profoundly wrong, and has no place in our society or any society.”  One might ask, since he has made such clear statements about science not being limited by ideology, why he sets the limits at human cloning as wrong and dangerous?  Once the value of human life has been removed and disregarded for the sake of “scientific progress,” why couldn’t the same argument he is making for “science” eventually be used for what many now consider unethical boundaries?

Scientists in Nazi Germany performed many experiments on Jews in concentration camps in the name of advancing “science,” some of the results of which have been banned from being used or taught in the medical community, because of the unethical way in which they were performed.  Yet many of their “experiments” were in order to find treatments and cures for diseases, which is the same argument being used for the justification of embryonic stem cell research.  The Nazi ideology had so far dehumanized the Jewish people in the German culture that these horrific experiments were allowed and encouraged.

How far have we fallen as a culture, when the majority of Americans (according to some polls) no longer consider these helpless embryos as human, and their lives can be taken simply to bring possible benefits to those who are stronger and have voices that can be heard?

Be Sociable, Share!



Possibly Related Posts: