Obama Admin Ignored Majority Who Opposed Embryonic Stem Cell Research Rules

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 7, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Obama Admin Ignored Majority Who Opposed Embryonic Stem Cell Research Rules

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 7
, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The National Institutes of Health is drawing condemnation today from pro-life advocates who say it ignored the majority of Americans who opposed the proposed guidelines that would implement President Barack Obama’s decision to force taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research.

NIH yesterday released the new guidelines, which not only allow the destruction of "leftover" human embryos but could open the door to their purposeful creation and destruction.

The decision also came with considerable controversy, with the Obama administration apparently ignoring the comments it solicited.

Acting NIH director Raynard Kington told The Hill, a newspaper that covers Congress, that a strong majority of the comments were against embryonic stem cell research funding.

The agency received more than 49,000 comments from the public after issuing a draft of its guidelines in April, Kington explained, and he noted 30,000 came from people who opposed the immoral research.

Kington admitted that NIH ignored such comments as "unresponsive."

“We actually did not ask the public whether we should fund research on human embryonic stem cells. We asked the public how we should fund human embryonic stem cell research,” Kington told The Hill.

That’s not going over well with pro-life advocates like Richard M. Doerflinger, associate director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities.

He told the Catholic Review that it was “disingenuous (for Kington) to say that comments criticizing the guidelines overall were to be ignored.”

Doerflinger said the 61 percent of Americans who didn’t want to be forced to pay for research that has never helped a single person said in their comments, “You’re not responding to what the American people want. Start over."

Deirdre A. McQuade, assistant director for policy and communications in the pro-life secretariat of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told the newspaper that her group helped more than 9,436 people write to NIH.

Meanwhile, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council blasted the guidelines themselves as immoral and unethical.

"Embryonic stem cell research requires dissecting and commoditizing the youngest, most vulnerable humans," he told LifeNews.com.

"The new guidelines demanded by the President promote poor science, reflect bad health care policy, and do nothing to fund treatments with adult stem cells that are providing documented benefits for suffering patients," he explained. "The guidelines implement a plan that will force taxpayers to foot the bill for research that involves human destruction, not healing."

"The NIH guidelines create an incentive to create and destroy so-called ‘excess’ embryos, pasting a veneer of ‘ethics’ on unethical experiments. They remove limits on taxpayer funding of experiments that require embryo destruction, and open the door to future abuses," he continued.

"The guidelines purport to have tight informed consent requirements, but don’t even require the IVF doctor and the stem cell researcher to be separate persons, opening a gaping loophole for researchers to increase embryo production for their own purposes," added Perkins.

Perkins told LifeNews.com that the Obama administration should be focusing on alternatives like adult stem cell research that is already helping patients.

"Instead of funding more life-destroying experiments, federal funding should go toward life-saving treatments and clinical trials using adult stem cells, which are on the cutting edge of treating patients for diabetes, spinal cord injury, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and other diseases," he concluded.

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