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The NIH has released its proposed rules regarding funding for ESCR in the wake of the Obama revocation of the Bush funding restrictions. The media pretends that they contain firm ethical limits. From the story:

The guidelines restrict funding of work on cells made using certain more experimental methods, such as creating stem cells from a human egg only, a process called parthenogenesis, and a cloning technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer.

They also would prohibit funding of work on embryos created specifically for research purposes, with the aim of keeping the money going to work using cells taken from embryos that parents donated after they decided not to try to use fertility clinic embryos to create a pregnancy.

They also lay out guidance to make sure parents know and agree to how the embryos would be used, and limit the use of federal tax money to create certain human-animal hybrids.

The guidelines apply only to research using federal funds and would not affect what scientists do using private funds or even state funds.
That last comment also applied to the Bush policy, and I don’t recall it being reported so prominently. And the headline, “U.S. Stem Cell Rules Limit Funding to IVF Clinics,” makes no sense since the clinics wouldn’t get the money, but rather, the scientists who made stem cell lines from embryos obtained from clinics, but never mind. The point is that the NIH had no choice but to prohibit funding for the creation of embryos for research—whether by cloning or IVF methods—since that would violate existing federal law (the Dickey Amendment).

But as I have reported at SHS previously, the political campaign has begun to destroy the Dickey Amendment. Should that happen, it would be legal for the Feds to fund human cloning, the making of embryos for research, and just about anything “the scientists” wanted to do in this regard. Once that happened, the NIH would likely revise these guidelines to permit funding for those activities.

President Obama has already signed Dickey into law for this year. But expect the struggle over Dickey t0 erupt within the next few years during the annual budgetary process. And if a bill passes sans the Amendment, there is no question in my mind that Obama would sign it. He just wants the Congress to do the dirty work.

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