Obama's pay grade increased

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on March 9, 2009

When asked by Pastor Rick Warren "at what point does a baby get human rights?" Then-candidate Barack Obama responded that the question was "above his pay grade." Today, Obama increased his pay grade, stating that human embryos are definitely before the point at which a baby gets human rights -- or even a modicum of ethical consideration.

Under the Bush administration, the federal government "forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values," Obama said. "In this case, I believe the two are not inconsistent. As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. I believe we have been given the capacity and will to pursue this research -- and the humanity and conscience to do so responsibly."

He noted that "many thoughtful and decent people are conflicted about, or strongly oppose, this research," and he said he understands their concerns and respects their views.

Ah yes, the "I respect your views (and go jump in a lake)," attitude of President Obama is on display again. As Adam Keiper notes, it's Obama presenting a "false choice," not former President George W. Bush.

Let us be candid. When President Bush announced his stem-cell policy eight years ago, biomedical research was proceeding in a direction that many Americans consider morally repugnant: toward the routine creation and destruction of nascent human life for the purpose of experimentation. Rather than present the nation with a “false choice,” President Bush offered a compromise — a policy that allowed research to proceed, and even offered federal funding, but that did not permit taxpayer dollars to support or incentivize the destruction of human embryos. In undoing that policy and in encouraging Congress to fund such research, it is President Obama who is offering the nation a false choice. President Bush believed that science and ethics could proceed hand in hand; President Obama’s policy implies that you can only have cures or only protect human embryos, not both.

Nearly eight years have passed since President Bush first permitted limited federal funding for embryonic stem cell research (it was not a ban as opponents have characterized it, as though federal funds were flowing to the research before Bush acted) and in that time ESC research has repeatedly foundered. At the same time, research into reprogramming adult stem cells -- to the point at which they are virtually indistinguishable from embryonic stem cells -- has been successful.

Why continue failed scientific research that many people consider to be immoral when it has also been proven to be unnecessary? The answer can be found in the abortion politics the Supreme Court has prevented from being settled in a democratic fashion. The pro-abortion rights crowd must maintain that every stage of human development up until birth is worthless -- a mere "clump of cells." Otherwise, there would be a public interest in regulating abortion. So, we get a President Obama -- who has promised to sign the Freedom of Choice Act which would overturn any and all restrictions on abortion -- pushing unnecessary science and thumbing his nose at those with serious moral objections to the practice.

This is a pro-abortion decision, not a pro-science one.

0 comments on “Obama's pay grade increased”

  1. Let's think of how many Americans are suffering from ailments and what this research can do for them. I'm sure everyone reading this knows someone important to them that is affected by one of these maladies.Research in the U.S.has not progressed since earlier this decade, cures are a very long time away and lets not even discuss the approval requirement by the FDA. At least this can be seen as a huge step forward to join the rest of the world at bringing about cures that could help millions of people including you and I some day.

    1. You respond to none of the points I make in my original post and then add falsehoods to your comment. The only thing Bush's "ban" did was prevent taxpayer dollars from being spent on the creation of human embryos for their later destruction. There was no law banning such research and the state of California even passed a bill spending $3 billion on such funding.

      You seem to praise research for research's sake with no thought to the ethical issues surrounding them. Would you support harvesting organs from prisoners condemned to die (instead of executing them) and give them to those in need? It would certainly save lives. You obviously haven't thought your way through this issue except on the most superficial level.

  2. I would like to echo Matthew's attempts at clearing up falsehoods and misconceptions. One of the most important to remember is that Bill Clinton signed a bill that allowed no federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. That is as in zero, nada, zilch. Bush was the President that began federal funding for such research, with some restrictions. Private research was never prohibited. Those are the facts.

    As a libertarian, I am generally against government funding for medical research though I freely admit it has led to medical progress over the years. (One might ask, however, whether such progress would have also been made over the years even in the absence of government funding. I think the answer is yes, but clearly that is an untestable opinion on my part). The problem with government funding of medical research is exemplified by the stem cell controversy. You get Michael J. Fox testifying in Congress about the value of embryonic stem cell research, when he has absolutely no scientific experience or knowledge to draw upon to support his request. He only has his personal story, which, though quite sad, should not really enter into the discussion. A government process becomes, almost by definition, corruptible.

  3. As a Biomedical Engineering student (soon to graduate), and also a libertarian, I also disagree with the federal government subsidizing research. I'd like to note that the most major discoveries in the health care and biology field over the past 150 years have been well, privately-funded (Darwin, Mendel, Celera Effort, etc.). The NIH only does a 4th of the research.

    Thus, private research using embryos have been going on for quite awhile now. The problem that exists is that if embryos are not provided within the country, industries just go and get them from Canada, or Europe.

    If one is interested in ending Embryonic Stem Cell Research, that would require a significant effort in ending the production of embryos across the western world. Most people are against this considering it is a detrimental economic move and that biomedical research are high-paying jobs, thus high-tax sources.

    While I'm against government-funded research, I'm a bit indifferent about embryonic stem cell research, or rather don't feel it as high priority as that of ending abortions, for example. There's other, "non-moral evasive" sources for getting stem cells, and there's methods for replicating stem cells. It is just a pain-staking process, which is why embryonic stem cells are sought out for. People want their cures fast, I guess.

    Glad I'm not going into that business. It is a mess, almost as bad dealing with PETA protesters.

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They don't want states, SCOTUS (at least not one that protects individual rights) or Senate. They want direct national control--& they want corporations to help implement policies & shut down expression that threatens them. I just wish they knew the definition of "fascist"

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