I have a piece up on today’s Daily Standard in which I deconstruct President Obama’s stem cell policy. Not only did he revoke former president Bush’s embryonic stem cell funding restrictions, but he also rescinded Bush’s executive order requiring funding of “alternative methods” for obtaining pluripotent stem cells without destroying embryos—a policy that actually bridged the cultural divide that rends this country, thereby inspiring true hope. From my column:
The 2007 executive order required the government to make a point of funding what are known as “alternative methods” for obtaining pluripotent stem cells. These are procedures that don’t require the destruction of embryos to derive these powerful cells, which are theoretically able to become any tissue in the body. It is this capacity that scientists say makes embryonic stem cells so valuable.
And indeed, the big news in biotechnology in 2007—08—proving the wisdom of the Bush policy—was the development of a technique known as “cell reprogramming,” in which ordinary human skin and other cells are transformed into “induced pluripotent stem cells” (IPSC). This achievement and subsequent advances in research were deemed so impressive and important that the journal Science named the development of the IPSC as the scientific “breakthrough of the year” for 2008.
What makes Obama’s stealth action so maddening is that he claimed to support “groundbreaking work to convert ordinary human cells into ones that resemble embryonic stem cells” in his stem-cell speech. But what he did was eradicate the very executive order that guaranteed that such science would be federally funded—an order that as far as I know nobody was lobbying to revoke.
I hope you will read the whole thing. It tells us in a nutshell what this administration is really all about.