For immediate release:
Monday, March 9, 2009
Obama Order Opens Door to Widespread Killing
of Embryonic Humans in Government-Funded Research
WASHINGTON – In a White House ceremony today, President Barack Obama signed an executive order to allow federal funding of research that will require the killing of human embryos.
This order reverses a policy instituted by former President George W. Bush in August 2001, which funded research on already-existing stem cell lines without encouraging any further destruction of human life.
“It is a sad day when the federal government will fund research that exploits living members of the human species as raw material for research,” said Douglas Johnson, a spokesman for the National Right to Life Committee. “Obama’s order also places our society on a very steep, very slippery slope. Many researchers will not be satisfied to use only so-called surplus embryos. Many researchers are already demanding federal support for research in which human embryos would be created for the specific purpose of research, through human cloning and other methods, and there was nothing in the President’s remarks today to limit NIH to the use of so-called surplus embryos created in IVF clinics.
“This sets the stage for an attack on the Dickey-Wicker law, which since 1995 has been a provision of the annual appropriations bills for federal health programs. This law prohibits federal funding of ‘the creation of a human embryo or embryos for research purposes; or research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death . . .’ Any member of Congress who votes for legislation to repeal this law is voting to allow federal funding of human embryo farms, created through the use of human cloning.”
Much of the press coverage anticipating Obama’s order continued to ignore or downplay the striking advances made in recent years in research using stem cells from non-embryonic sources, including adult stem cells and reprogrammed adult body cells (iPSCs). Do No Harm, a coalition of scientists and researchers opposed to embryo-killing stem cell research (www.stemcellresearch.org), has posted a list of over 70 different disorders for which there have been one or more peer-reviewed scientific studies showing a measure of positive benefits in human patients.
In contrast, embryonic stem cells have yet to benefit a single human patient, and have proven most adept at generating tumors.
Regarding Obama’s instructions to NIH to develop “strict guidelines” to govern embryonic stem cell research, Johnson commented, “These so-called ethical safeguards are really merely procedural requirements, an attempt to cloak the fundamentally unethical act of sacrificing living members of our species, homo sapiens, in order to provide raw material for research.”
Obama also issued a second directive purporting to free federally sponsored scientific research from the influence of “ideology.” Johnson commented, “Giving an absolutely free hand to elites of specialists can result in the ideology of the specialists being imposed on society as a whole. Scientific endeavors that utilize human subjects or otherwise pose dangers to innocent human life must always be subject to oversight by society as a whole, through regular democratic processes.”
National Right to Life spokespersons are available for comment on these subjects. To arrange an interview, please contact the NRLC Communications Department at (202) 626-8825 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Right to Life Committee is the nation’s largest pro-life group with affiliates in all 50 states and over 3,000 local chapters nationwide. National Right to Life works through legislation and education to protect those threatened by abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide.
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