Pro-Life Groups Blast Obama for Funding Research Destroying Human Life

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

Pro-Life Groups Blast Obama for Funding Research Destroying Human Life

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 9
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Responding to President Barack Obama’s decision to force taxpayers to fund research destroying human lives, pro-life groups unanimously condemned his move. They said Obama ignored the ethical considerations as well as adult stem cells and other alternatives that are actually helping patients.

Recent advances in reprogramming cells — induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) — only bolster the case that this new policy is nothing short of wasteful, pro-life advocates say.

“Embryonic stem cell research is the research of the past. Millions of dollars have been spent on embryonic stem cell research and it has failed," Americans United for Life president Charmaine Yoest told "To pour more money into it is simply a waste.”

"If we’re going to put tax dollars into research — particularly at a time of unprecedented federal deficits — it needs to be research that protects life and helps patients now," she said.

“Even more, this research destroys lives at the very earliest stage of development. Adult stem cell research is helping people now," Yoest added.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue also chimed in and said scientists and the public now understand that there is little reason to fund embryonic stem cells since they are no closer to helping patients than they were when President Bush made his initial decision to oppose them.

“When President Bush placed restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, there was no way for scientists to approximate the effectiveness inherent in embryonic stem cells," he told "But that is no longer the case."

Donohue said the induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are the wave of the future.

"Last fall, Harvard University stem cell researcher Konrad Hochedlinger announced that he was able to coax adult cells to regress into an embryonic state. Scientists everywhere were ecstatic," he explained.

“It is precisely because there are ethical alternatives to killing embryos that President Obama’s decision is doubly flawed: (a) it is immoral to intentionally destroy nascent human life, and (b) it is even more irresponsible to do so when morally acceptable alternatives exist," he concluded.

Douglas Johnson, a spokesman for the National Right to Life Committee, also condemned Obama’s decision.

"It is a sad day when the federal government will fund research that exploits living members of the human species as raw material for research," he told

Johnson says the decision to allow federal funding of new embryonic stem cell research on leftover embryos will only open the door to other grisly decisions.

"Obama’s order also places our society on a very steep, very slippery slope. Many researchers will not be satisfied to use only so-called surplus embryos," he said.

"Many researchers are already demanding federal support for research in which human embryos would be created for the specific purpose of research, through human cloning and other methods, and there was nothing in the President’s remarks today to limit NIH to the use of so-called surplus embryos created in IVF clinics," Johnson explained.

He predicts pro-life advocates will have to work to stop Congressional efforts to overturn a ban on federal funding of the purposeful creation and destruction of human embryos for research.

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