President Obama Claims to Back Adult Stem Cell Research, But Removed Order for It

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 25, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

President Obama Claims to Back Adult Stem Cell Research, But Removed Order for It

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 25
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — During his national press conference Tuesday night, President Barack Obama claimed to be supportive of ethical alternatives to using embryonic stem cells, namely adult stem cell research. However, he recently issued an executive order to rescind research into more ethical alternatives.

Reporter Jon Ward of the Washington Times pointed out to Obama that "science so far has shown a lot of progress with adult stem cells but not a lot with embryonic."

"I am glad to see progress is being made in adult stem cells. And if the science determines that we can completely avoid a set of ethical questions or political disputes, then that’s great," Obama said.

"I have — I have no investment in causing controversy. I’m happy to avoid it if that’s where the science leads us," Obama added.

"But what I don’t want to do is predetermine this based on a very rigid ideological approach. And that’s what I think is reflected in the executive order that I signed," Obama continued.

However, Obama only referred to his executive order requiring taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research — and did not refer to his second executive order that concerning research into ethical alternatives.

Obama rescinded an executive order President Bush put into place authorizing research on adult stem cells and new research with iPS cells. The Bush order was intended to ultimately fund research into alternatives" to destructive embryonic stem cell research such as altered nuclear transfer (ANT), "regression" (reverting differentiated cells into stem cells), and other methods.

Wesley J. Smith, a bioethics author and attorney, noted the contradiction in Obama saying he backs embryonic stem cell research alternatives and his overturning an order to fund that.

"Then why rescind the 2007 Bush order requiring that the Feds fund research into non controversial ‘alternative’ methods," Smith asks. That is "the very kind of policy geared toward bridging our bitter cultural and political divides, a matter he has now twice kept quite mum about–here and in his stem cell speech."

Smith says using a rigid ideological approach to the science is "what he did" when it came to his executive order to stop adult stem cell research.

"But that is what he did, base his order on a very rigid ideological approach that views nascent human life is so much chopped liver," Smith says. "Indeed, as far as I can tell, he took federal funding just as far as the law allows."

"Alternative methods are one of the few areas in which we can all row in the same direction, which I thought this president wanted to do," Smith added. "So much for taking the politics out of science."

Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From

Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report
Receive a free daily email report from with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.