President Barack Obama Makes Taxpayers Fund Embryonic Stem Cell Research

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

President Barack Obama Makes Taxpayers Fund Embryonic Stem Cell Research

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 9
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — In the latest move against the pro-life movement and its desire to protect human life before birth, President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Monday forcing taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research.

"We will lift the ban on federal funding for promising embryonic stem cell research," Obama said.

He said his administration would make decisions on embryonic stem cell research "based on facts, not ideology," even though critics have condemned his decision as purely ideological and alternatives have produced better results.

Obama’s move opens the door to requiring the public to pay for scientists to kill days-old unborn children for research that has never helped any patients. In fact, in recent weeks embryonic stem cells have been condemned for causing tumors in one patient in Israel.

Even Obama conceded his own decision to make taxpayers fund unethical and unproven research may not produce results.

"I cannot guarantee that we will find the treatments and cures we seek," he said.

Obama’s comments also paint a false picture of stem cell research policy prior to his taking over the White House.

In August 2001, President Bush put forth a policy preventing federal funding of any new embryonic stem cell research because it involves the destruction of human life.

There was no ban on funding. Instead, Bush put hundreds of millions of dollars behind studies conducted with adult stem cells, the only kind that has proven effective in helping patients with a variety of diseases and medical conditions.

During his address Monday, Obama mentioned pro-life advocates who disagree with his decision and cited his Christian faith and public opinion polls as reasons to go against their ethical concerns.

Obama called his decision a "difficult and delicate balance" and said he sided with the "majority of Americans" who support funding.

"Rather than furthering discovery, our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values," Obama claimed. "In this case, I believe the two are not inconsistent. As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering."

Obama also said he would not support using human cloning for reproductive purposes but did not say he favored a ban on human cloning for research uses as pro-life advocates support.

"We will develop strict guidelines, which we will rigorously enforce, because we cannot ever tolerate misuse or abuse," Obama said. "And we will ensure that our government never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction. It is dangerous, profoundly wrong, and has no place in our society, or any society."

Obama has said he will let the National Institutes of Health work out the details of how embryonic stem cell research will be funded.

Expecting the executive order, National Institutes of Health officials indicated last month that they had already started working on the paperwork necessary to begin funneling public funds to projects involving the use of embryonic stem cells.

Obama’s decision sets up a Congressional battle over bills that would codify it and make it more difficult for a pro-life president to overturn and that would overturn a ban on specifically creating human embryos to be killed for research purposes.

The embryonic stem cell research executive order is the second to upset pro-life advocates.

During his first week in office, Obama reversed the Bush policy on foreign abortions known as the Mexico City Policy. That prohibited forcing taxpayers to finance foreign groups that promote or perform abortions in other nations.

While the money doesn’t fund abortions directly, the groups will have an easier time funding abortions and can use taxpayer funds to lobby the governments of pro-life nations to abandon their culture and heritage and allow abortions.

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