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Stem Cell Research

Stem Cell Research

Kerby Anderson


Earlier this month, President Obama signed an executive order overturning the clear guidelines established by President Bush in 2001. What is becoming more obvious by the day is that the current president tossed out the existing guidelines and put nothing in their place. Essentially, he left all the decisions up to the scientists and provided no moral guidelines.

Even Charles Krauthammer, who is not pro-life, had problems with the president's executive order. In a recent column he said: "I am not religious. I do not believe that personhood is conferred at conception. But I also do not believe that a human embryo is the moral equivalent of a hangnail and deserves no more respect than an appendix."

Krauthammer expected President Obama to provide some moral guidelines, but was extremely disappointed that he provided none. By contrast, Krauthammer said that President Bush's "nationally televised stem cell speech was the most morally serious address on medical ethics ever given by an American president."

Now that President Obama has thrown open the door to embryonic stem cell research, other researchers are concerned that this will divert attention and funding from adult stem cell research. Adult stem cell research has already shown demonstrable results without raising the moral questions of embryonic stem cell research.

Another question also surfaced when the president signed the omnibus appropriations bill two days later. Buried in the 465-page bill was the Dickey-Wicker amendment. This amendment has been included in the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services since 1996. It specifically prevents the use of federal funds for the creation of a human embryo or embryos for research purposes. And it prevents funding for the destruction of human embryos.

This sets the stage for a legislative effort to repeal the Dickey-Wicker amendment. Congress will now be the next battleground to fight for life.