Obama Ends Stem Cell Funding Ban

The Washington Post reports ...


President Obama lifted restrictions on funding for human embryonic stem cell research this morning and issued a presidential memorandum aimed at insulating scientific decisions across the federal government from political influence.

Obama took care to emphasize that the order would not "open the door" to allow human cloning, which he said is "dangerous, profoundly wrong and has no place in our society, or any society." But the president said stem cell research has enormous potential to further understanding and treatment of many devastating diseases and conditions. America, he said, should play a leading role in exploring the stem-cell research frontier.

"In recent years, when it comes to stem cell research, rather than furthering discovery our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values," Obama said, according to his prepared remarks. "In this case, I believe the two are not inconsistent . . . We should pursue this research . . . The potential it offers is great, and with proper guidelines and strict oversight the perils can be avoided."

The decision by President George W. Bush to restrict funding for stem cell research has been seen by critics as part of a pattern of allowing political ideology to influence scientific decisions across an array of issues, including climate change and whether to approve the morning-after pill Plan B for over-the-counter sales.

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