Obama to Lift Ban on Funding for Embryonic Stem Cell Research
By Rob Stein | washingtonpost.com
Ed Comment: Pay close attention to the last sentence.
President Obama is planning to sign an executive order on Monday rolling back restrictions on federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research, according to sources close to the issue.
Although the exact wording of the order has not been revealed, the White House plans an 11 a.m. ceremony to sign the order repealing one of the most controversial steps taken by his predecessor, fulfilling one of Obama's eagerly anticipated campaign promises.
The move, long sought by scientists and patient advocates and opposed by religious groups, would enable the National Institutes of Health to consider requests from scientists to study hundreds of lines of cells that have been developed since the limitations were put in place -- lines that scientists and patient advocate say hold great hope for leading to cures for a host of major ailments.
Administration officials would not comment immediately other than to say "there will be a stem cell related event on Monday." But an email sent out yesterday from the White House stated that officials were planning a ceremony on Monday "on stem cells and restoring scientific integrity to the government process. At the event the president will sign an executive order related to stem cells." Sources close to the issue, asking not to be named because they were not authorized to discuss the plan, said the order would lift the restrictions on federal funding of human embryonic stem cells.
Because stem cells obtained from very early embryos are believed capable becoming any tissue in the body, scientists believe they could lead to fundamental insights into the underlying causes of many diseases and repair damage caused by a host of ailments, including diabetes, Parkinson's disease and spinal cord injuries, but extracting them destroys the embryo.
President Bush imposed the restriction on Aug. 9, 2001, limiting federal funding to studies of what turned out to be 21 cell lines that were already in existence as of that date to prevent tax dollars from encouraging the destruction of more embryos.
The limitation, welcomed by those who believe that destroying human embryos is immoral, has been denounced by many scientists for severely hindering research one of the most promising fields of biomedical research.
The 21 cell lines that scientists have been permitted to study under the Bush policy have a variety of shortcomings, critics say. Many, for example, may have defects that could make them dangerous to transplant into people. But perhaps more important, hundreds of newer lines have been developed that offer a host of opportunities. Many lines, for example, carry defects for specific diseases.
Because of his long support for such research and repeated promise to repeal the restrictions, proponents expected Obama to lift the restriction in his first week in office, when he issued a flurry of executive orders to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, make government less secretive and lift a ban on funding international family planning groups that support abortion, among other things. But Obama did not, raising concern among advocates that he might be reconsidering his promise.
Opponents have argued that research on human embryonic stem cells has become unnecessary because of scientific advances in the interim, including promising advances, making it crucial to continue to study those cells along with embryonic cells.
Some opponents have suggested that Obama might qualify his executive order to try to take the sting out of the move as part of his effort to find common ground on divisive issues. But proponents expect Obama will simply lift the restriction without caveats and let the NIH work out the details. In anticipation, the NIH has started drafting guidelines that would address the many ethical issues raised by the research, using as models templates compiled by the National Academy of Sciences and the International Society for Stem Cell Research.
Advocates were especially concerned that the delay could force stem cell scientists to miss and opportunity apply for some of the new funding the NIH is receiving as part of the stimulus package.
Despite the executive order, Congress is also likely to get involved by considering legislation designed to prevent any future presidents from reinstating restrictions.
Source: Obama to Lift Ban on Funding for Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Why Embryonic Stem Cell Research? It's About Human Engineering, Not Ending Disease
Human Cells + Animal Cells = ?
Science's new blend mixes man and beast
Now scientists create a sheep that's 15% human
We have created human-animal embryos already, say British team
Chimera embryos have right to life, say bishops
Hybrid embryos could be created within months
Patent sought on 'synthetic life'
Artificial life likely in 3 to 10 years
First genome transplant turns one species into another
Latest News from our Front Page
Pressure from the United Patriots Front Stops Mosque Plan
Pressure from the United Patriots Front appears to have killed off a mosque development in Narre Warren North.
The City of Casey council now looks likely to withhold planning approval for the development in a special meeting set for Tuesday night.
A council report, to be considered by councillors on Tuesday, recommends that the approval be blocked.
The mosque opponents’ cause has been helped by councillor ...
Police face questions over the influence of the Freemasons
South Yorkshire Police today face questions over whether powerful 'secret society' the Freemasons held sway over the force at the time of Hillsborough.
Families of victims say that officers who were Masons were promoted into powerful positions despite being ill-equipped, including match commander David Duckenfield.
Duckenfield told the fresh inquests he had been a Freemason since 1975 and became head of his ...
England Bans its Own Flag to Avoid Offending Muslims
St. George's Cross "racist" towards immigrants
Government officials said their city was ‘too multicultural’ to celebrate St George’s Day, England’s version of the 4th of July.
The council said that displaying the English flag may have been seen as “racist” towards immigrants.
Half of Western European men descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’
Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown.
The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent.
He was part of a new order which emerged in ...
"Local Residents" Are Filmed Stealing Dozens of Bottles of Water at London Marathon Stop
Editor's Comment: "Local" residents? Why bother blurring their faces? We know who they are.
London marathon runners were robbed of dozens of bottled waters when thieves raided a refreshment area armed with trolleys during today's race.
Nearby residents - including parents with children - were captured on camera piling up crates of free water handed out by volunteers during the 26-mile event.
|More News » |