President Obama Will Soon Force Funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 16, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

President Obama Will Soon Force Funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 16
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — A top advisor to President Barack Obama confirmed again that the president will soon be issuing an executive order to lift the limits President Bush put in place on embryonic stem cell research. Bush protected taxpayers from being forced to fund research involving the destruction of human life.

Top Obama aide David Axelrod said on "Fox News Sunday" that Obama is preparing to issue an executive order that will pave the way for more federal funding.

That’s despite the fact that embryonic stem cells have never helped a single human patient and the kind Bush favored have already helped patients with dozens of diseases, illnesses, or medical conditions.

"We’re going to be doing something on that soon, I think. The president is considering that right now," said Axelrod.

Obama himself guaranteed earlier this month during a meeting with leading Congressional Democrats that he will sign an executive order forcing taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research.

"I guarantee you that we will sign an executive order for stem cells," he said during the meeting, according to a Washington Times article.

His comments came in response to a question from Rep. James Langevin, a Rhode Island Democrat who is against abortion but favors embryonic stem cell research.

Obama previously indicated in a previous CNN interview that he would perhaps not sign the order but wait for Congress to send him a bill that would do so. Now, he says he will sign the order.

Obama said during the meeting that he would coordinate his executive order with Congress so that and the passage of the bill would be timed concurrently.

President Bush spent hundreds of millions of dollars each year of his presidency on stem cell research, with most of it going to support the most effective kind, adult stem cells, and the rest funding older embryonic stem cells that had been obtained prior to the implementation of his policy.

In addition to the moral concerns, pro-life advocates and many scientists say embryonic stem cells still have scientific problems.

They point to the development of tumors after the injection of embryonic stem cells into animals during experiments. The cells also trigger the immune system to reject them.

These problems have never been overcome and have prevented any use of the controversial cells in humans, although the FDA recently approved a human trial.

Some scientists say the human trial will not actually involve embryonic stem cells, but embryonic-like cells that will falsely make it seem embryonic stem cell research has advanced if the trial is successful.

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