Obama To Lift Bush’s Restrictions on Stem Cell Research

Obama will finally be removing George Bush’s restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. The good news is reported in The Washington Post:

President Obama is planning to sign an executive order on Monday rolling back restrictions on federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research, according to sources close to the issue.

Although the exact wording of the order has not been revealed, the White House plans an 11 a.m. ceremony to sign the order repealing one of the most controversial steps taken by his predecessor, fulfilling one of Obama’s eagerly anticipated campaign promises.

The move, long sought by scientists and patient advocates and opposed by religious groups, would enable the National Institutes of Health to consider requests from scientists to study hundreds of lines of cells that have been developed since the limitations were put in place — lines that scientists and patient advocate say hold great hope for leading to cures for a host of major ailments.

I don’t know if Obama will be able to fix the economy. He might even get bogged down in Iraq. Regardless of his success in other areas, here is at least one area where there we see solid evidence that it was worthwhile voting for Obama. This is just one area where Obama differs from his predecessor in respecting science and respecting separation of church and state. No longer will we be subjected to religious fanatics dictating to scientists and health care professionals what can be done purely based upon their religious beliefs.

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18 Comments

  1. 2
    Mo says:

    For Everyone living with a disability reverseable by stem cell,
    I totally support the decision.
    All those who feel differently obviously have never been affected by a crippling health issue.

  2. 3
    Ron Chusid says:

    Mo,

    “All those who feel differently obviously have never been affected by a crippling health issue.”

    Untrue. Many are suffering from very serious health issues, if we include mental health. 🙂

    Then there’s just plain ignorance about both the science and how scientific research is funded, which can be seen in some of the conservative blogs linking back here, such as in the trackback above.

  3. 4
    Faith says:

    This quote from George  Bush tells the decent way to handle this research.”This good law prohibits one of the most egregious abuses in biomedical research, the trafficking in human fetuses that are created with the sole intent of aborting them to harvest their parts. Human beings are not a raw material to be exploited, or a commodity to be bought or sold, and this bill will help ensure that we respect the fundamental ethical line”.

  4. 5
    Ron Chusid says:

    Bush confuses what is essentially a clump of cells (with the potential to benefit those living with disease) with fully formed human fetuses. Ultimately Bush and the right wing confuse stem cells with babies in their minds, showing a lack of understanding of both biology and ethics.

  5. 6
    thevoice@voicedup.com says:

    Finally, after almost a decade of limiting taxpayer money for research president Barrack Obama has lifted the restrictions on federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research today. Let’s think of how many Americans are suffering from ailments and what this research can do for them. I’m sure everyone reading this knows someone important to them that is affected by one of these maladies such as Parkinson’s, repairing spinal cord injuries as well as treating diabetes, cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and many more defects.

  6. 7
    Fritz says:

    So what is the objection everyone has to cloning for reproduction?  It’s just identical twins with a time-shift, after all.

    (OK, there are health risks.  But most people wailing about it don’t say “as long as there are significant risks for birth defects”.  They just go on about how unnatural it is.)

  7. 8
    Eclectic Radical says:

    Scientifically speaking, reproductive cloning risks putting an end to genetic evolution. If one is merely copying the same products over and over, instead of creating new material, then nothing really changes and you get genetic stagnation. Genetic evolution happens at a much faster pace than species evolution, and is important to species survival. Reproductive cloning, if it entirely replaced traditional breeding, would stop that process entirely.

  8. 9
    Fritz says:

    And if everyone was a computer programmer we would all starve to death.  It makes no sense to ban actions for individuals on the notion of “What if everyone did it?”.

    People just seem to be much more weirded out by cloning than by identical twins, and I don’t understand the visceral reaction.

  9. 10
    Ron Chusid says:

    Personally I think that once the science is there to do it safely cloning will be done, regardless of what governments decide. Government action to inhibit science might delay that, and might make it more difficult and rarer once developed, but it won’t absolutely stop it.

    I prefer to avoid discussion of cloning as it is a side issue with regards to stem cell research. Sure, maybe if you oppose cloning it might be of use to inhibit biotechnology and delay when cloning becomes possible, but that hardly seems fair to all those people who might benefit from stem cell research.

  10. 11
    Ron Chusid says:

    If everyone was a computer programmer we’d probably all be living in a virtual reality matrix by now.

    The argument against cloning based upon evolution might be irrelevant. If we get to that point where we are capable of cloning I suspect we will also be reaching the point where evolution becomes a matter of our own choices in genetic engineering as opposed to natural selection.

  11. 12
    Eclectic Radical says:

    Well Fritz, I’m not explaining why people are weirded out by cloning or why cloning should be illegal or banned. I guess I was thinking too rationally and answering the scientific question, which is really major concern of mine with cloning.

    Ron, I don’t know if the question of genetic evolution will ever become irrelevant. I’m not saying genetic engineering on that level is impossible, but is certainly the sort of thing one gets a little skeptical about until it actually happens.

    I do not have a moral objection to research into cloning, necessarily. I do believe there is a moral concern at work on one level alone: when we reach the point of experimenting with a genuine cloned human being, we will be creating a life. I would prefer not to see our ‘first born child’ (in the scientific sense) live as a lab specimen. Those on the left with objections to cloning are probably coming from someplace similar. The religious objection doesn’t need to be explained, I think. It goes without saying and one either agrees with it or not.

    Personally, I think God has bigger concerns. I am more concerned about whether we would treat the product of such experimentation with the dignity he or she would deserve.

  12. 13
    Ron Chusid says:

    Natural genetic evolution is very slow. (So slow that many conservatives can deny that it occurs in humans). Compared to the rapid changes people might make when they can control their genes, evolution might turn out to be irrelevant.

  13. 14
    Eclectic Radical says:

    Genetic evolution is more than just species evolution. Environmental and physical adaptations inform conception and fetal development on even a generational level, though it may take many generations of generations for them to observed in a meaningful sense. We may not have evolved into Nietzche’s ubermensch yet, but there is some reason to believe that we are not precisely the same people we were at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution either. Yet we are still, to all intents and purposes, the same species.

    I don’t completely disagree with you, but it is still an important factor to keep in mind when making a big decision. 😉

  14. 15
    nomoreGOP says:

    ”This good law prohibits one of the most egregious abuses in biomedical research, the trafficking in human fetuses that are created with the sole intent of aborting them to harvest their parts. Human beings are not a raw material to be exploited, or a commodity to be bought or sold, and this bill will help ensure that we respect the fundamental ethical line”.

    I still am absolutely appalled that this man was the leader of our country for 8 years..  He is most definitely an egregious liar… But thats about all that is “egregious” here.. (although it is quite entertaining following W’s vocabulary debacles..he is like a kid that just found out what dictionaries and thesaurus’ are.. but still cant quite get it right.. “when in rome,” right? LOL)

    But it still doesnt move away from the fact that he actually claims that there is a practice of “trafficking human fetuses for the sole purpose of aborting them.”  This statement is just plain ridiculous..

    There just is no such thing as a middle ground to these people is there? Bushes quote would lead someone to believe that the bill he passed is somehow saving actual human lives by keeping them out of some made-up cloning abortion black market… I mean while he is at it, why not just pass a few bills that prevent time travel, since there is a .00001 chance it might happen in the future sometime.. Time to ” ensure that we respect the fundamental ethical line” right?

  15. 16
    Eclectic Radical says:

    “Bushes quote would lead someone to believe that the bill he passed is somehow saving actual human lives by keeping them out of some made-up cloning abortion black market…”

    That’s exactly why he said it the way he said it, to make people believe just that. Left or right, the abortion issue is only mentioned in politics for political reasons. Conservatives and liberals talk about abortion to rally the party faithful to their side and shore up support regardless of whom their policies benefit.

    I don’t like abortion. While I don’t quite think life begins at conception, I do believe it begins somewhere in the womb before birth. That said, I am too conscious of the politicization of the abortion issue to vote for a candidate entirely opposed to my principles solely because I do not like abortion.

    I don’t think anyone likes abortion and, with the possible exception of some hardcore advocates of reproductive freedom, I don’t think anyone believes abortion is the best choice in 99.9% of cases. At the same time, when make someone’s choices for them in such a personal area, we are talking about the most egregious abuse of government power possible. Only someone in the situation of pondering an abortion can make a truly informed decision about whether to have one.

  16. 17
    Ron Chusid says:

    The issue is not a question of whether one likes abortion but, as you get to at the end, a question of whether the decision is made by the woman whose body is involved or by the state.

  17. 18
    Eclectic Radical says:

    I agree entirely.

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