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March 26, 2009

Members of President's Bioethics Council Voice Objections

Ten members of the President’s Council on Bioethics have issued a statement raising concerns about President Obama’s decision to allow federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

They criticize Obama's characterization of what actually took place in 2001, since President Bush never banned embryonic stem cell research. "The aim of this policy was not to shackle scientific research but to find a way to reconcile the need for research with the moral concerns people have," they say.

The council members say that pluripotent stem cell research has eclipsed embryonic research. They argue, "Because producing them does not require human ova, and because they are patient-specific stem cells that are less likely to be rejected by their recipients, they also have distinct scientific advantages.

The authors write that Obama's decision would encourage cloning human embryos that then must be destroyed. "We cannot believe that this would advance our society’s commitment to equal human dignity," they write.

(h/t Emily Belz)


Christian lawyer,

I agree that this report would have been better if Sarah had identified that Bush appointed them (though I figured that to be the case anyway). But you have failed to address whether their objections are accurate in themselves and instead have attempted to undermine their position through a sort of guilt by association tactic. That is unworthy of you.


Christian lawyer,

All that you have said has been extensively reported elsewhere. We see CT's role as reporting info and perspectives not readily available elsewhere. I agree this post could have been better, and you did readers a service to point out where we fell short in providing the context in this instance. Now I would like you to apply the same scrutiny, as a Christian lawyer, to some of the policies of our pro-choice president.


Christian lawyer,

No, what the council has said is new. I find it remarkable that you are bored that because this council was appointed by Bush that it has nothing to say to Obama. It is still the president's council, even though we have changed presidents. You seem to be saying that what it says is entirely political and has nothing to do with bioethics because of who appointed it. I don't believe that is the case, especially since the objections were at least partly over the factually erroneous or misleading statements of Obama.

Again, I find your own emphasis on this disappointing, to say the least. It seems to be: because Obama didn't appoint them, he doesn't have to listen to them. That's like saying because I didn't vote for Obama I don't have to consider him my president. There is a certain dignity and authority in the office, don't you think?

This will be my last post on this item, but I sure hope that you will focus on the actual substance of what Obama is doing. Regarding correcting or updating this item, I think your comments have done that, but I will mention it to Sarah and see what needs to be done.


Stan says "All that you have said has been extensively reported elsewhere."

Perhaps that is true, but when I read the "headline" in my e-mail it certainly clearly stated "President's . . . Bioethics Council" and as far as I know we only have one president at a time; therefore, I presumed it was a council appointed by President Obama. Until I read the comments I continued to think that. I have only recently subscribed, so like many others, this is the first time I have read the comments. Do not presume what people know or do not know or what they have read or have not read.

Many,many women have spontaneous abortions. Is using the stem cells from these embryo somehow different from a heart transplant?

Fight nice, children.