Obama Admin Urged to Not Expand Embryonic Stem Cell Research Further

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 25, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Obama Admin Urged to Not Expand Embryonic Stem Cell Research Further

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 25
, 2010

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Attorneys with Americans United for Life are urging the Obama administration not to expand embryonic stem cell research beyond the ways in which it has already promoted the life-taking and ineffective research.

Last month, the National Institutes of Health announced it was proposing a "technical change" in their guidelines for destruction of human embryos.

The change would allow use of younger human embryos in experiments.

Although the NIH ignored the majority of comments from the public opposing its implementation of the executive order President Barack Obama issued forcing taxpayers to fund the destruction of human life to obtain embryonic stem cells, AUL hopes NIH will listen this time around.

In its comment, AUL demonstrates that embryonic stem cell research violates applicable law and is unnecessary in light of advances in adult stem cell research.

“The NIH has proposed an improper new definition of ‘human embryonic stem cell’ that will allow even more funding for the destruction of human embryos,” said William L. Saunders, a senior AUL attorney.

“But this change would violate current law that forbids public funding for any research that places an embryo at risk of injury. It is also not necessary, given the incredible advances we have already seen in treatments using ethical forms of stem cell research, such as adult stem cell research," Saunders adds.

Currently, the Dickey-Wicker Amendment forbids the funding of research which destroys human embryos or subjects them to risk of injury.

However, Saunders points out that the proposed change will allow research on human embryos which, in pre-implantation genetic diagnosis procedures, has been shown to place embryos at risk of injury or death.

He also notes that there are no cures or treatments utilizing embryonic stem cells, while ethical forms of stem cell research utilizing adult stem cells have already benefited human patients with over 100 different diseases.

Dr. David Prentice of the Family Research Council has already commented on the proposal to expand embryonic stem cell research.

"This expands the unethical use of human embryos, and creates additional incentives to cannibalize more embryos," he says of the Obama administration proposal. "Stating that the guidelines are ‘ethical’ simply puts a veneer on unethical practices; they are simply providing a recipe for human embryo destruction so that taxpayers funds can be used to reward the scientists."

The redefinition of "embryonic stem cells" is primarily for the benefit of the company Advanced Cell Technology (ACT), so that they can qualify for taxpayer funding, he explains.

"ACT had previously submitted seven hESC lines for approval (an eighth was added after the NIH announcement) and intends to submit at least one more hESC line. At least four of their lines were derived by removing a blastomere (one of the cells of an early embryo), supposedly leaving the remainder of the embryo intact," Prentice says.

"But perhaps more than anything, this redefinition illustrates the willingness of NIH to change the rules to fit their desires for more embryos. Expect more abuses in the future," he concluded.

Related web sites:
AUL’s full comment – https://action.aul.org/site/R?i=hfxdxt2QjcpbM1lT9D0PMQ

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