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White House Cheat Sheet: The Politics of Stem Cells



President Obama moves to repeal the Bush administration's ban on stem cell research. AP Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais

President Obama will overturn an eight-year old policy that placed restrictions on the use of federal funds for embryonic stem cell research this morning, a move being greeted with plaudits by members of his own party but with significant skepticism among those on the conservative right.

Obama will sign an executive order allowing the study a far broader group of stem cell lines, which scientists believe could provide insight into the causes of and treatments for various diseases.

During the campaign, Obama promised to overturn the federal ban -- and attacked Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) in a radio ad on the topic although McCain, in fact, expressed support for removing restrictions on federal funding.

Polling suggests that wide swaths of the American public support Obama's position. A January 2009 Washington Post/ABC News poll showed nearly six in ten voters favoring a loosening of restrictions on stem cell research. A Time poll conducted in the summer of 2008, more than seven in ten supported using stem cells for research while 19 percent opposed using human embryos for that purpose.

Looked at another way, however, there is less clarity on the issue. In a 2007 Pew poll 51 percent said stem cell research's potential for new cures to diseases was of primary importance while 35 percent said "not destroying human life" took precedence.

Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), a former Speaker of the House, told the Fix late Sunday that Obama's move on stem cells was an "ideological sideshow" that took focus away from the continued decline of the economy. "It is dangerous for the Obama administration to pick a wide series of fights," said Gingrich. "Each of these fights simply drains energy away and increases the coalition which decides it has a collective interest in stopping everything."

Expect a series of statements today from leading contenders for the 2012 presidential nomination echoing Gingrich's sentiment as opposition to stem cell research is a stone-cold winner among conservatives who view it as a slippery slope in the abortion argument.

The stem-cell signing -- like the economic stimulus bill -- is an example of the two different tracks that Obama and Republicans are currently on. Obama, with his base solidly on his side, is making policy with broad support among independents. Republicans, on the other hand, remain in the wilderness and are looking to rebuild from core principles, shoring up from their base of social and fiscal conservatives.

"For the broad electorate, I think Obama will get credit for the perception of aligning with progressive medical interests," said Mark McKinnon, a media consultant who worked closely with former president George W. Bush. "But, it will also fire up the base of the Republican Party because this strikes at core principles and ignites strong passion and fury."

Republicans' current path isn't one that will lead them back to the majority. But, for a party decimated by electoral losses over the last two elections, it's the only direction in which they can head at the moment. They must first re-state to their base why they are Republicans before working to broaden their coalition to independents and even some conservative Democrats. It's a long and winding road but it's the road Republicans have chosen.

Happy Birthday to Ted: Yes, that was President Obama leading a sing-along version of "Happy Birthday" to Ted Kennedy at an event last night in which the Massachusetts senator received a "Profiles in Courage" award. (Kennedy turned 77 on Feb. 22.) Caroline Kennedy, the senator's niece and an erstwhile Senate candidate, joked "I never thought I'd be in a room with so many Senators," according to the one-of-a-kind tweeting of Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Monday Must-Reads: We read the world's newspapers and blogs so you don't have to.

1. President Obama will pull out 12,000 troops from Iraq by the fall.
2. The New York Times' Mark Leibovich, as only he can, breaks down how Republicans are trying to solve a problem like Sen. Jim Bunning (Ky.).
3. The Post's Shailagh Murray and the Los Angeles Times' Mark Z. Barabak take in-depth looks at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
4. Maureen Dowd on Michelle Obama's biceps. (She's for them.)
5. Does Twitter have a business model?


Dems Continue Anti-Rush Efforts: Americans United for Change, a liberal group, is up with a new television ad today aimed at keeping conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh (and his comments about President Obama) in the national spotlight. The ad says that Republican leaders "created the worst economic crisis in a generation," opposed all of Obama's plans to rebuild it and take their marching orders from Limbaugh. "Tell Rush and Republicans America won't take 'no' for an answer," says the ad's narrator. Americans United is spending $25,000 on the commercial, which is running on cable in the Washington media market. It is the final act of Americans United president Brad Woodhouse, who starts as communications director at the Democratic National Committee today.

Twitter Time: We continue our drive for 10,000 Twitter followers at "TheFix" and "TheHyperFix." Today's highlights: 1) We'll give away an official Fix t-shirt in a trivia contest later today on "TheFix" 2) We'll be live-twittering White House press secretary Robert Gibbs press briefing today at 1:30 p.m. at "TheHyperFix." Who could ask for anything more?

Abercrombie for Gov.: Hawaii Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D) made it official over the weekend: he's returning to his home state to run for governor. Abercrombie, an early endorser of President Obama's candidacy cast his own bid as a continuation of that winning effort -- promising to bring change to the Aloha State, which has been under Republican rule since 2002. Abercrombie, who was elected to the state's 2nd congressional district in 1996, is the first Democrat in the contest but likely won't be the last, as Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann and state Senate president Colleen Hanabusa (among others) are considering the race. Republicans have cleared the way for Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona. In a state where Obama won 71.5 percent in 2008, the Democratic nominee will be favored in a general election.

Click It!: The Rock (a.k.a. Dwayne Johnson) does as good an Obama impersonation as anyone currently on the "Saturday Night Live" cast. Not to mention Andy Samberg as Rahm Emanuel. Do you smellllllllll...what the Rock is cooking?

Say What?: "I Twitter the top 10 pork barrel projects." -- Arizona Sen. John McCain demonstrating that he is, as the kids say, "with it."

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 9, 2009; 6:05 AM ET
Categories:  Cheat Sheet Share This:  E-Mail | Technorati | Del.icio.us | Digg | Stumble Previous: Friday Senate Line: The Importance of 60
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Comments

Congratulations to President Obama for overturning Bush's eight year ban on the use of federal funds to support embryonic stem cell research. It's good to see an administration that puts science and knowledge back in the front seat again. It was sickening to watch so-called "religion" put a stop to scientific and medical advances for the past eight years. Must religion always be on the side of ignorance? Must it always exist in the Dark Ages? Must we still believe that the universe revolves around the Earth, and that ships can sail off the edge of the Earth into Hades? Is it really religion, or is it a cynical use of religion by political charlatans trying to hoodwink and control their followers which created this ban on stem cell research? It's a refreshing change, after the past eight years, to see someone with a real mind in the White House, who is using his mind for the benefit of all Americans, not just his business cronies.

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"Conservatives Are America's Real Terrorists"
http://conservativesarecommunistss.blogspot.com/

Posted by: cjprentiss | March 9, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

I hate to defend 1) Republicans and 2) people named after lizards, but Gingrich has a point.

There is such a thing as a socially conservative Democrat. If they're made to feel like, well, lizards, they may wax lukewarm in their Obamaphilia - though I can't really imagine them totally abandoning ship and supporting the sorts of candidates and economic positions likely to be put forward in their districts by the party of welfare for investment bankers.

Posted by: Miss_Hogynist | March 9, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

I am morally offended by legislation supporting embryonic stem cell research. I know that there are other ethical alternatives to killing embryos. In my opinion it is wrong to intentionally destroy nascent human life, and it is even more irresponsible to do so when other morally acceptable alternatives exist.

Posted by: Snookums2 | March 9, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

From the article:
"Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), a former Speaker of the House, told the Fix late Sunday that Obama's move on stem cells was an "ideological sideshow" that took focus away from the continued decline of the economy. "It is dangerous for the Obama administration to pick a wide series of fights," said Gingrich. "Each of these fights simply drains energy away and increases the coalition which decides it has a collective interest in stopping everything.""
____

Well, thanks, Newtie, for that declaration of your political impotence. YOU sure can't do anything about this decision now . . .

It's possible that Gingrich is correct (but let's review: how often has he been right about much?) about Obama's action risking a backlash that could harm him. But as a distraction from doing the business of the country??? Please . . . Gingrich is just whining that Obama CAN and has made such a decision unilaterally. Bush could and did, and that was OK, right, Newtie? But Obama shouldn't because it's causing a distraction??? WOW! Has being on the political periphery this long really affected your reasoning this much?

Posted by: post_reader_in_wv | March 9, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Whenever I read Zouk, I am reminded that among the indignities to which John Calvin was subjected in his rather brief life was a debate with Pighius.

Posted by: Miss_Hogynist | March 9, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Now I hear Geithner is going after the Wrangles of the world. Or was it the other way around?

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 9, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

it's war allright. War on prosperity. War on the rich. Meanwhile we surrender to the Taliban, Syria and Cuba.

Posted by: king_of_zouk

-Why do you even bother posting? Besides looking at your own posts and chuckling at how clever you are....

It's like you've missed the whole section of our history from after McCarthy to today, you're sure doing a bang up job carrying that torch guy.

Posted by: theobserver4 | March 9, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Funny thing is Joe is kind of correct this time.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 9, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

just saw this -- one clown bashes the other.

"Michael Steele now has another high-profile Republican publicly bashing him: Samuel "Joe The Plumber" Wurzelbacher.

At a meeting of conservative activists in Milwaukee, Mr. The Plumber had some tough words for the RNC chairman: "Unfortunately we have a chairman up there who wants to redefine conservatism; he wants to make it hip hop, put it in a new package and sell it."

"You can't sell principles; either you have them or you don't," he added, to applause from the audience of 800 people.

Joe The Plumber has really embraced his self-proclaimed role as the voice of the right-wing working-class voter -- quite a different audience from Steele's desire to expand the GOP into minority communities. And Joe's pronouncement that conservative principles can't be repackaged and sold -- you either have them or you don't -- is strikingly similar to Rush Limbaugh's line from CPAC that conservatism is unchanging and permanent, solidifying a definite line of anti-Steele thought."

Posted by: drindl | March 9, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I wish Bush had signed some exec order on discos which Obama would over turn.

The fix could have a post called "The Politics of Dancing"

Posted by: DDAWD | March 9, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Those who are against embryonic stem cell research claim that "all life" is sacred, what they really mean is "American" lives are sacred. They don't seem to be too concerned about Iraqi lives or African lives and so on.

Posted by: JRM2 | March 9, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

"This is right up there with Senator Brownback's inspired legislation, banning the creation on 'manimals.'"

Really??

Posted by: DDAWD | March 9, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

It is beyond absurd that the GOP reduces this dialogue to a 'cloning' issue, and that President Obama responds to that inanity.

This is right up there with Senator Brownback's inspired legislation, banning the creation on 'manimals.'

Further, if the GOP is so concerned about those embryos, and since the embryos used are ones that would be disposed of by fertility clinics, why is there no dialogue about those clinics?

Blatant hypocrisy, that's why.

For more:
"Eric Cantor vs. the FrankenDem monster"

http://scootmandubious.blogspot.com/2009/03/eric-cantor-vs-frankendem-monster.html

Posted by: scootmandubious | March 9, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

drivl complaining about negativity and destruction. Almost as funny as barry claiming to cut the budget or elevate science over politics. Next up- al gore does a diet commercial.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 9, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

It is beyond absurd that the GOP reduces this dialogue to a 'cloning' issue, and that President Obama responds to that inanity.

This is right up there with Senator Brownback's inspired legislation, banning the creation on 'manimals.'

Further, if the GOP is so concerned about those embryos, and since the embryos used are ones that would be disposed of by fertility clinics, why is there no dialogue about those clinics?

Blatant hypocrisy, that's why.

For more:
"Eric Cantor vs. the FrankenDem monster"

http://scootmandubious.blogspot.com/2009/03/eric-cantor-vs-frankendem-monster.html

Posted by: scootmandubious | March 9, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

More Buffett coverage; here msnbc points out the GOP's selective quoting of Mr Buffett:

"Republicans didn't pass around Buffett's advice to the GOP. "The minority really do[es] have an obligation to support things that are clearly designed to fight the war in a big way," Buffett said. "I think the Republicans have an obligation to regard this as an economic war and realize you need one leader... I think the [Democrats] should not use it ... to roll the Republicans." "

http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/03/09/1828508.aspx

Posted by: bsimon1 | March 9, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

"I'm intrigued by your implicit theory that life may begin at the point of tax deductability."

If the religious types want to define life as beginning at conception, I at least want financial compensation in return. Call it a payback for economic stimulus. My grocery bills, home improvement bills, bookstore bills & doctor bills start going up at the moment of conception, not birth.

Posted by: bsimon1 | March 9, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Nice post. Thought it should be reposted.

==========================================

THIS IS ALL Rs care about:

"GOP Rep: “Our Goal Is To Bring Down Approval Numbers” For Dems

GOP Rep. Patrick McHenry, a key player in helping craft the Republican message, has offered an unusually blunt description of the Republican strategy right now.

McHenry’s description is buried in this new article from National Journal

“We will lose on legislation. But we will win the message war every day, and every week, until November 2010,” said Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., an outspoken conservative who has participated on the GOP message teams. “Our goal is to bring down approval numbers for [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and for House Democrats. That will take repetition. This is a marathon, not a sprint.”

McHenry’s spokesperson, Brock McCleary, tells me his boss is standing by the quote.

McHenry’s description of his party’s goal — to “bring down approval numbers” for Nancy Pelosi and House Dems — is being much talked about today among Congressional Dems. It’s likely that Dems will grab on to the quote today to bolster their charge that Congressional Republicans aren’t interested in playing a constructive role in governing and see their hope for political revival in the eventual failure of the Democratic majority’s policies."

This is all republicans are about right now -- negativity and destruction. maybe they will become a legitimate party once again and not a cult if they start caring about what happens to this country instead of how they can get elected.

Posted by: drindl | March 9, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Michael_A1 | March 9, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

"if Mary Joe Kopeckney's parents where there and also singing Ted's praises for "courage"."

Doubt they're even alive. The lady herself was 30 at the time and this was 40 years ago.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 9, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

bsimon1, I'm intrigued by your implicit theory that life may begin at the point of tax deductability.

Posted by: Miss_Hogynist | March 9, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

it's war allright. War on prosperity. War on the rich. Meanwhile we surrender to the Taliban, Syria and Cuba.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 9, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Snookums2, and others that oppose stem cell research:

much has been said to link this to abortion. Ok, I'll bite - if you don't want abortions, don't have one. If you don't like stem cell research, do not use any product that comes from stem cells.

Everyone wins: Science, gets to be science, scientists in the US can actually compete with other scientists over the world, and those that don't like the research, can easily choose not to benefit from it.

This is a secularly founded nation, althought heavily christian at the moment; those that do not like, cannot stomach, are saddened, etc, certainly have that right. Science though, must continue as it as for centuries, without political influence.

Also, although we are powerful, one sure way to make the USA less powerful, less influential, is to limit our scientists via political power, etc.

Please keep in mind, none of this will stop other countries from using stem cells; and they've been hard at work for 8 years, getting a very large advantage over US scientists. (at least those that remain in the US).

Moral or not to any individual, there will be plenty of scientists that will use stem cells, even if the US never does. Why not allow our scientist to compete? Why drive them away to other countries? It's time science took a front seat to politics and religion, not the other way around.


Posted by: Michael_A1 | March 9, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Contrary to what Newt thinks, Obama is not picking a fight. There is no "fight", this is an executive order just as it was an executive order that implemented the restrictions. The fight was the election in November which the Democrats won. Why do the Democrats need extra special permission from the Republicans to do the things they were elected to do?

Posted by: spidey103 | March 9, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Whoops! The Credibility Gap has widened again...

zouk wrote
"even warren buffet has woken up and smelled the coffee. He has declared that Obama is clueless."

Yet Bloomberg reports:
"“We are doing things now that are potentially very inflationary,” he said. Buffett called on Congress to unite behind President Barack Obama, comparing the economic crisis to a military conflict that needs a commander-in-chief. “Patriotic Americans will realize this is a war,” he said."

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=azL2a7n4_.Wc&refer=home

Will Americans patrioticly unite behind the commander-in-chief, or will they undermine our country's efforts to win an economic war?

Posted by: bsimon1 | March 9, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

here's a good example of the pro-life stance of the Church in action-- the logical conclusion for all of you opposed to stem cells:

A senior Vatican cleric has defended the excommunication of the mother and doctors of a nine-year-old girl who had an abortion in Brazil after being raped.

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, head of the Catholic church’s Congregation for Bishops, told the daily La Stampa on Saturday that the twins the girl had been carrying had a right to live.

‘It is a sad case but the real problem is that the twins conceived were two innocent persons, who had the right to live and could not be eliminated,’ he said.

The regional archbishop, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, pronounced excommunication for the mother for authorising the operation and doctors who carried it out for fear that the slim girl would not survive carrying the foetuses to term.

“God’s law is above any human law. So when a human law … is contrary to God’s law, this human law has no value,” Cardoso had said.

He also said the accused stepfather would not be expelled from the church. Although the man allegedly committed “a heinous crime … the abortion - the elimination of an innocent life - was more serious”.


Posted by: drindl | March 9, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I support President Obama's decision to lift restrictions on the use of federal funds for embryonic stem cell research. These embryos ALREADY EXIST from in vitro fertilization and would be discarded otherwise.

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | March 9, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Another down day for the Dow.

Barry.harry.nan must be still in charge.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 9, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

armpeg's post is reminiscent of the scrawls of toddlers, or perhaps apes smearing excement on the walls of their cages. a perfect demonstration of the mindset, or lack therof, of their base.

Posted by: drindl | March 9, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Now even warren buffet has woken up and smelled the coffee. He has declared that Obama is clueless. What took him so long to figure it out?

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 9, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

THIS IS ALL Rs care about:

"GOP Rep: “Our Goal Is To Bring Down Approval Numbers” For Dems

GOP Rep. Patrick McHenry, a key player in helping craft the Republican message, has offered an unusually blunt description of the Republican strategy right now.

McHenry’s description is buried in this new article from National Journal

“We will lose on legislation. But we will win the message war every day, and every week, until November 2010,” said Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., an outspoken conservative who has participated on the GOP message teams. “Our goal is to bring down approval numbers for [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and for House Democrats. That will take repetition. This is a marathon, not a sprint.”

McHenry’s spokesperson, Brock McCleary, tells me his boss is standing by the quote.

McHenry’s description of his party’s goal — to “bring down approval numbers” for Nancy Pelosi and House Dems — is being much talked about today among Congressional Dems. It’s likely that Dems will grab on to the quote today to bolster their charge that Congressional Republicans aren’t interested in playing a constructive role in governing and see their hope for political revival in the eventual failure of the Democratic majority’s policies."

This is all republicans are about right now -- negativity and destruction. maybe they will become a legitimate party once again and not a cult if they start caring about what happens to this country instead of how they can get elected.

Posted by: drindl | March 9, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Just wondering. While Democrap Socialist shill Chris Cillizza, Kennedy twit Caroline, and Bozo the Clown Barack Obama were gushingly singing-along a Happy Birthday version to Ted Kennedy, who received a "Profiles in Courage" award from the JFK Center last night, if Mary Joe Kopeckney's parents where there and also singing Ted's praises for "courage".
It figures though that all these Democrap Socialists would have forgotten a peon like Mary Joe Kopeckney (who apparantly was more like do-do on their Democrap Socialist shoes) who Ted Kennedy killed when he ran his car off into the bay after a drunken party late at night. "Courageous Ted" left her (and possibly her unborn child) to die in about 8 ft of water to drown in his car while he ran away and only came back the next day with an army of lawyers (surprise, surprise "Courageous Ted" got away with murdering Mary Joe as well as a DUI).
It takes iron balls for Chris Cillizza, the Kennedy twit Caroline, Bozo Obama, and the Democrap Socialists running the JFK Center to award their "Profiles in Courage" award to the likes of Ted Kennedy, a award supposedly presented "...to public servants who have made courageous decisions of conscience". Mary Joe Kopeckney obviously is just a nobody to the Democrap Socialists, to be used, abused, and forgotten. Typical liberal Democrap Socialists all though.

Posted by: armpeg | March 9, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

If Zouk says he doesn't like something then there's a 99% chance that it's good for the rest of the country. So let's all open our ears to what he's screaming about and do the exact opposite. We'll be out of Bush's hole in a few years if we stick to this principle.

Posted by: theobserver4 | March 9, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

As political wrestling experts, we can say that the Rock did a great job portraying Barack Obama. Samberg as Emanuel was simply priceless.

--------
Last night's Political Championship Wrestling 'Weapons of Mass Political Destruction' results:

-The Green World Order (Extreme Vegan Brock Cole Lee, GreenPete, and Peta from PETA def. Politically Incorrect (Al Cahall, Nic Koteen, and the Princess of Political Incorrectness Andrea Doria)

-Jack Schett and Bull Schett def. Rough Justice (D.B. Ruff and Connor Justice- two former police officers fired because of their extreme methods of law enforcement)

-'Little Sports Entertainment Genius' PCW TV Champion Seany McMann vs. 'No Frill's' Chris Escondido vs. Dave the Mechanic goes to no match when McMann leaves the ring area and goes back to the dressing room.

-Big Oil and Kirk Walstreit-Wall Street Analyst with a man crush on ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit def. A. Tom Bomb and Hy Drogen Bomb

-Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin, and Bill O'Reilly def. Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, and Arianna Huffington in 8 person tag team elimination match.

- Kathryn Randall Collins retains via finglepoke of doom over reality star Mia Margarita

-PCW Champion O'Beck Bahama retains the title.

Posted by: politicalchampionshipwrestling | March 9, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin wrote:

The legal debate about who is a person under the Constitution is not the same as:

the debate about when life begins;

or the even more ancient debates as to whether one life is worth more than another or whether many lives are worth more than a single one.

If you can find them, read the epistolary debates between the Syriac Fathers and the Babylonian Rabbis in the First [or Second?] Century A.D. for some historical context on the "life" debates among philosophers and theologians.

As for the law, know that persons protected under the constitution are either born or viable outside the womb. There is no way the law can be read to protect embryos in general as if they were persons.

--------------

Indeed, if you follow the anti-research position to it's obvious conclusion: If an embryo in a Petri dish must be protected, one in a womb deserves even greater protection. Therefore any woman who has a miscarriage MUST be charged with Manslaughter. And, if she was somehow neglegent, it should be Negligent Homicide, or even Murder.

Right?

Posted by: sourpuss | March 9, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

"Which type of experimentation is across the line & why? "

Well testing on skin, blood, and the placenta is just not as icky and sad as 'embryos' to some. Which they're not even that yet; they're zygotes. We're talking about cellular clusters 4-5 days old which puts them in that catagory. But far too many people skip that part of biology because teaching about reproduction in schools is so bad!

Posted by: mtcooley | March 9, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

RobT1 writes
" your earlier statement about your pro stem cell research stance being the majority opinion is quite possibly false. Also false is the choice between doing stem cell research and as you say flushing embryos down the drain. We could pass laws making it easier to adopt out frozen embryos or we could pass laws forbidding creation of extra embryos in fertility clincs."

I didn't make a statement about majority opinion, that was someone else.

Regarding your other comments, I already think there are too many laws regulating personal medical decisions. I certainly don't see the logic in creating more. Also, I think there isn't a valid legal basis for treating embryos as humans. What next, do I get a 'Fertilization Certificate' each time a sperm penetrates an egg? At what point can I claim them as a deduction on my taxes? Will women have to start reporting miscarriages to the police?

Posted by: bsimon1 | March 9, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I was going to post a comment but there are so many little green doctors pounding on my back that I can barely type. Maybe later!

Posted by: Miss_Hogynist | March 9, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Dear President Obama,
Allowing embryonic stem cell reseach saddens me to the inner depths of my soul and conscience. On the fundamentsl moral issue of protecting human life at all stages of development, this legislation promotes the culture of death.
This is an extremely sad day for our country!!!

Posted by: Snookums2 | March 9, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

"Thanks for the clip of Duane Johnson as BHO - I do not watch SNL and depend on you, Chris, for pop culture references."

There's also a skit about Michael Steele with an electrode implanted into his skull by Rush Limbaugh as well as a skit of Tim Geitner offering $420 billion to anyone who has an idea of what to do about the economy.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 9, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

This may be above Obama's pay scale.

Posted by: newbeeboy | March 9, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

bsimon1 writes:
"Of course poll results can be influenced by how the question is asked. I can play that game too. How about asking "Should unused embryos be used for science or flushed down the toilet?"

My point exactly. So your earlier statement about your pro stem cell research stance being the majority opinion is quite possibly false. Also false is the choice between doing stem cell research and as you say flushing embryos down the drain. We could pass laws making it easier to adopt out frozen embryos or we could pass laws forbidding creation of extra embryos in fertility clincs. Lots of other choices besides flushing them and doing scientific research on them. Besides the even if they eventually create medical therapies from embryonic stem cells, assuming adult stem cells don't beat them to the punch, the so called left over embyos in fertility clinics won't be near enough to produce medicines on a commercial scale. That'll take millions of embryos.

Posted by: RobT1 | March 9, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the clip of Duane Johnson as BHO - I do not watch SNL and depend on you, Chris, for pop culture references.
------------------------------
The legal debate about who is a person under the Constitution is not the same as:

the debate about when life begins;

or the even more ancient debates as to whether one life is worth more than another or whether many lives are worth more than a single one.

If you can find them, read the epistolary debates between the Syriac Fathers and the Babylonian Rabbis in the First [or Second?] Century A.D. for some historical context on the "life" debates among philosophers and theologians.

As for the law, know that persons protected under the constitution are either born or viable outside the womb. There is no way the law can be read to protect embryos in general as if they were persons.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 9, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

30+ years ago the Republicans worked very, very hard to turn liberal into a word with nothing but negative connotations. They then worked equally hard to make Democrat and liberal synonyms.

The Democrats are now starting to do the same thing to Republicans. At every opportunity they pound into people's heads that Republicanism and the Dark Ages are synonyms. The Republicans are anti-science line, in time, could pay huge dividends. The Democrats aren't particularly interested in much of the South where a large percentage of fundamentalists make ever winning there unlikely. Better to keep the Republicans a ghetto party of an inbred, Deliverance like South than to destroy them utterly. If the Republicans completely implode a viable party could rise to take their place. Not to mention that an us versus them electoral mentality is a winner. Remember, this is politics, the reality of the South is not relevant only the caricature is.

The Dems have to break the Republican hold over areas like WV-OH-IN and MT-ND-SD-WY-CO-AZ. One of the ways to do that is the anti-progress, pro-Dark Ages line of attack. In the old rust belt what jobs remain are generally tech based. A car or a machine tool is designed by engineers and scientists. Better crop seeds, and better animals, are developed by geneticists and are the foundation of the agriculture economies of the Great Plains. Not using the cells of embryos that will otherwise be thrown in the trash is not a compelling argument for the majority of voters in these areas. Sure there are some, but the goal is to win 51% of the electorate, not 100%. This isn't just Republican fury over a Democratic President, it is Republican fury over a future of new health cures. It is Republican fury that science wins. And as long as people see it that way only the choir will be voting Republican in ten years.

Posted by: caribis | March 9, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Let's save all the unused embryos for future use so that a woman who has six kids all under the age of seven can go ahead and have eight more, all in one shot!I will bet you that, if he ever talks, that doctor will give you his religious reasons for participating in this assault on the California tax payer. I believe in God with every bone in my body but an embryo is NOT a human being. If left to it's own it's nothing. Only if it gets implanted does it have a chance to become a human being. Throw out the extra's and be done with it.

Posted by: Opa2 | March 9, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

"It seems like you are suggesting that he forget about Iraq and Afghanistan and North Korea and Palestine and Climate Change etc. etc. and just focus on the economy."

I'm really just suggesting that he use some of that stimulus money to spring for some Ritalin.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 9, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Embryonic stem cells don't work; adult stem cells do.

Embryonic stem cells can't get private funding because they're a loser.

Posted by: NeverLeft | March 9, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

So the 'right' doesn't like the change in stem cell policy. Who cares?

Posted by: cfeher | March 9, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

"Yawn. This should really help the economy. Why can't this man focus? I know, its like Obama has ADD or something"

He may only have 4 years to unwind nearly 30 years of stupidity. A few moments of reflection would help you realize that the job of president requires serious multi-tasking. It seems like you are suggesting that he forget about Iraq and Afghanistan and North Korea and Palestine and Climate Change etc. etc. and just focus on the economy. I don't think that would work out particularly well.

Posted by: rtc1 | March 9, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

RobT1 writes
"Try doing the same poll and ask the question this way: "Do you support the destruction of human embryos for scientific research?". Wanna bet you get differnt poll result?"

Of course poll results can be influenced by how the question is asked. I can play that game too. How about asking "Should unused embryos be used for science or flushed down the toilet?"

Posted by: bsimon1 | March 9, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

So if the majority of Americans are, as you imply, stupid, they should rather be led in their beliefs and scientific understanding by their pastor or priest?

Why is it so hard for many to accept the separation of church and state this country is in part based upon?

Our "stupid" fellow citizens just happen to be in the correct majority on this one, I concede, but maybe we'd all be better served picking up a civics book. This is a democracy, not a theocracy...

Posted by: dinsdalep | March 9, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

mjlew01 writes
"bsimon- why don't you offer up your uterus to bring these unwanted and unused embryo's to term"

I think you have me confused with someone else.

Posted by: bsimon1 | March 9, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

There is a very complex web of difficult issues underlying this decision. One part of the dynamic is clearly for scientists to hype their prospects and for humans to feel the need to spend on research directed at health threats that they fear for themselves or have experienced with their loved ones. Another is the reality that our factual knowledge of biology is growing exponentially. It is only a matter of time before we will have the ability to intervene and change the course of life in ways that many would like to believe were only the province of some divine authority. The reality with stem cells is that it is highly likely that there will be ways to obtain them without destroying embryos before there is any real prospect of using them therapeutically on any large scale. But it is even more likely that the dvisions will continue to grow between those who want to embrace the results of science and those who see them as a threat to their traditional values. Those who think that these divisions can somehow be put off while we cope with our economic problems are not dealing with reality. One core Obama understanding is the expectation that the future of our economy depends on embracing science and technology. The experience of the last fifty years provides strong support for that view.

Posted by: dnjake | March 9, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it's just me, but I am getting tired of hearing Republicans are "in the wilderness", or Republicans are looking to "rebuild from core principles". It is getting nearly as irritating as "in these economic conditions" or "the way the economy is today".

Posted by: jnoel002 | March 9, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

dinsdalep writes:
"Unless and until "God" appears and smites all those who have "destroyed" the embryos, or support embryonic stem cell research, we're left with human beings to make those decisions. And majority rules, friend."

A lot of people keep bringing up God and religion. But as you say the decision to experiment on and destroy human embryos will be made by human beings. Not God. Very falliable human being who a lot of times make decisions for purely selfish and not necessarily ethical or moral reasons. Sure, if you do a poll in this country and ask if you support stem cell research, the marjority will be in favor of it. I don't believe, however, that most people who say they favor stem cell research realize that this research involves the destruction of large numbers of human embryo's. You don't think so? How much scientific knowledge does that average American, who can't find the U.S. on a world map, have to make an informed decision of this subject with all the ethical implications? Try doing the same poll and ask the question this way: "Do you support the destruction of human embryos for scientific research?". Wanna bet you get differnt poll result?

Posted by: RobT1 | March 9, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

"For the broad electorate, I think Obama will get credit for the perception of aligning with progressive medical interests," said Mark McKinnon, a media consultant who worked closely with former president George W. Bush. "But, it will also fire up the base of the Republican Party because this strikes at core principles and ignites strong passion and fury."

This is probably the quote of our times...The Right-Wing NeoCon proponents of non-thinking, oblivious followers will continue to grow louder and smaller until they squeak out of existence. This is the 21st century - not the 17th or 18th. GET A CLUE !

Posted by: rbaldwin2 | March 9, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

RobT1 writes
"The human embryos used in this experimentation are clumps of cells true, just like you and I were once clumps of cells. It's easy to dehumanize something just by calling it a "clump of cells" but in reality a embryo is a human being. A embryo's sex, hair color, body stature, even intelligence level has already been genetically determined."

It is strange to consider a bunch of cells in a petri dish as a 'human life'. The question of when life begins is a difficult one. Those skin cells we talked about briefly are 'alive'. So the question becomes philosophical - when does life begin? Is it when an egg is fertilized? Is it when a fertilized egg implants in the uterine wall? Has anyone answered what should be done with the fertilized cells that aren't implanted in a uterus? Should they be 'flushed' as someone else alleged happens now? When do these clumps of cells get legal status?

Those are all reasonable questions for discussion and disagreement. I don't think our society is ready to grant legal rights to every fertilized egg.

Posted by: bsimon1 | March 9, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Great, now we can clone The One, so as to solve the only real problem in the world- how will we ever do without him?
-
http://reaganiterepublicanresistance.blogspot.com

Posted by: ReaganiteRepublican | March 9, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

hmm, king_of_zouk:

Your party knows all about solving economic woes, huh?

Funny how conservatives have 8-year amnesia when it comes to who precisely created the woes, and how they did it.

How about we try something a little different to clean up your mess? Judging from past experience, if you disagree, we know we're on the right track.

Posted by: dinsdalep | March 9, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Here's a complex idea for you drivl.

Work for reward.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 9, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

According to libs, stem cells, electronic medical forms, college tuition, too few unions and too low taxes is the cause and solution to our economic woes. Couldn't have been Barney giving houses away.

Barry.harry.nan are driving us to malaise.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 9, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

bsimon- why don't you offer up your uterus to bring these unwanted and unused embryo's to term, seeing they are sitting an a freezer someplace. Maybe if your husband/wife breaks their neck or gets alzheimer's that Stem cell research could repair or cure you might have a different point of view.

Why do the christians and other believers in mythology only care about the child whe it's in the womb and then kick the kid to curb once it's Born. Very christian of you.

Posted by: mjlew01 | March 9, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Ah, now the WashPost caption writer is just getting lazy: "met with skepticism from conservative right"

Remember all those high school book reports?
"The novel [place book title here] was very interesting and prompted many interesting thoughts ..."

Here's the quiz: Name three [3] Obama initiatives NOT "met with skepticism from conservative right"

Posted by: jerswing | March 9, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

"It seems only government can solve any of the problems that confront us.

Except they have never done anything properly in all of history."

yes, that's right. let's just quit trying and let anarchy rule. that seems to be what rightwingers want... a return to the Stone Age. of course, as neanderthals, they're much more comfortable with that than with complex 'ideas' and stuff...

Posted by: drindl | March 9, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

RobT1:

If embryos can't make decisions for themselves, why should those against stem cell research be the ones make them?

Unless and until "God" appears and smites all those who have "destroyed" the embryos, or support embryonic stem cell research, we're left with human beings to make those decisions. And majority rules, friend.

Posted by: dinsdalep | March 9, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Bismon,

Your argument that we use human cells for other purposes so what’s the problem with embryonic clump of stem cells? The last I check the adult or adolescence cells used in research do not result in the individual’s life being terminated; however, stem cells taken from embryonic life does destroy that life. I can donate a kidney and still live but if I donate my heart I shall have a very short life span assuming I do not receive some mechanical or organ donation. However, is not the kidney and heart just a large clump of functioning cells? What is the difference with me donating one and not the other is it not my right and my body?

I do not share the premise of Peter Singer of Princeton University (Bioethicist) who argues that there is no difference between animals and humans. Singer has no trouble with experimentation on humans granted that they have a diminished mental/functioning capacity since we already experiment on animals. I see that we have extremes on both sides of the issue not just the religious side the left is just as rabid as the right.

Speaking of wedge issue, the Embryonic Stem Cell debate was used quite forcefully by D in both the 2006 and 2008 elections. I will be the first to admit that the general population in this country are for the use of embryonic stem cell; however, I do not mind be in the minority on this issue.

Posted by: sltiowa | March 9, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

if this is an "ideological sideshow" according to mr. gingrich, then may we have many more. obama is on the side of the angels on this one, no pun intended--the vatican notwithstanding. as for gingrich and 'sideshows', i guess it takes one to know one.

Posted by: jimfilyaw | March 9, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

This is all childish political hopscotch!

Posted by: hotdad14 | March 9, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

bsimon1 writes:
"Its not quite that simple. We're talking about a clump of cells. There is research here, at the U of MN, that is using human skin cells a somehow manipulating them to convert them into stem cells - just like those that are in embryos. This is also 'human' experimentation. Every drug trial, or medical device test is also 'human' experimentation. Which type of experimentation is across the line & why?"

The human embryos used in this experimentation are clumps of cells true, just like you and I were once clumps of cells. It's easy to dehumanize something just by calling it a "clump of cells" but in reality a embryo is a human being. A embryo's sex, hair color, body stature, even intelligence level has already been genetically determined. In less than 9 months that "clump of cells" would be born and most people wouldn't think about experimenting on it at that point. If you don't believe that a one day old baby should be experimented on then how about a unborn child that's 6 months along in gestation? That's the edge of viability. How about 5 months? 4 months? How do you decide when someone becomes a human being with all the dignity inherient in being a human being? Also, the difference between embryonic stem cell destructive research and the human trials and research you mentioned is the fact that everyone who participates in that form of research is a adult and can make those decisions for themselves. Embryo's don't get to make decisions for themselves.

Posted by: RobT1 | March 9, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

josephthepoet:

If you get cancer tomorrow qre you going to save us taxpayers money and just "die"?

Yeah, I thought not. Actually, you know that's how things were in those "barbaric" days before the advent of scientific/medical progress.

Posted by: dinsdalep | March 9, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

"Yawn. This should really help the economy. Why can't this man focus? "

I know, its like Obama has ADD or something

Posted by: DDAWD | March 9, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

agapn9:

Creating an embryo outside of the marital act is a grave misuse of science only when your religious beliefs make it so. Last I checked, America was not church (at least not since 20 January). If you have such a problem with science, you should have voted harder.

Posted by: dinsdalep | March 9, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Yawn. This should really help the economy. Why can't this man focus?

Posted by: ontheblvd | March 9, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Using embryonic stem cells requires the immune suppression medical malpractice methodology. And this is claimed to be Sound Science by those who promote their own selfish cause by ignoring any factors that prove their chosen path actually threatens our entire race.

Using a person’s own stem cells does not require the dangerous practice of immune suppression that is so casually and foolishly used. And we wouldn’t be helping to increase the barbaric abortion practice of worshiping our gods (physical beauty and convenience) through more infanticide offerings to market embryonic stem cells.

We foolishly struggle to prolong the lives of individuals even to the point that our practices threaten our entire race. News flash: We all eventually die. When the next dangerous pandemic occurs it will have received our assistance to quickly spread through and disseminate our race thanks to the Frankenstein-type practices of the medical community that have so casually suppressed the immune systems of massive numbers of individuals. Our great medical practitioners have moved their treatments from practices like blood letting techniques and previous poisonous methods to different poisoning practices (chemotherapy) and to casually suppressing people’s immune systems, while they engage in infanticide to boot. So what if their medical practices threatens our entire race as long as the selfish few may get to improve their lifestyle or might get to prolong the life of their corpse for a little longer, right?

The current economic and unemployment crisis is proof, if we’d care to look and think about it, that catering to individuals above any concerns for our race only eventually results in massive problems for us all. But we will not learn and move away from our promotion of individualism and selfishness.

We have returned to the way of living that was the norm in the days of barbarism, while we call ourselves modern, intelligent, and morally superior. A society that over-promotes individualism has everyone chaotically running their own way without concern for the results of their actions on everyone else and will eventually destroy itself, but a society that promotes our race through God’s family structure works in union and will thrive and constantly improve the living standards of everyone.

Posted by: josephthepoet | March 9, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Individuals who consider human life sacred want the fertility clinics closed down so we won't have unused embryoes. Creating an embryo outside of the marital act is a grave misuse of science. It is illogical to defend one misuse with another (that invitro justifies stem cell research). Eliminate the first abuse and the second loses it's force.

The consequences of confusing what can be done with what should be done has been magnificiently demonstrated in California by Miss Sulieman and her 14 children.

Who's the father and who is responsible for those 14 children? Not Miss Sulieman, not the man from whom the semen came from and not the doctors then who? Everybody else to the tune of 19k a month for 19 years.

I seldom agree with Newt Gingrich but he's right this time. Focus on the economy. I know Obama's actions make liberals happy but our scientific research is best focused elsewhere.

Posted by: agapn9 | March 9, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

It seems barry is now interested in scientific integrity. Bye bye global warming. Or this another one of those spending/saving things?

When he says Politics will be out of science, why do I know it means science is dead and politics is the new science.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 9, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

The flat earthers are in hysterics about this. Too bad. The reality based community is back in charge after eight years of fantasy-government.

Posted by: Attucks | March 9, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

It seems only government can solve any of the problems that confront us.

Except they have never done anything properly in all of history.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 9, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Fertility clinics destroy unwanted embryos, so why not let medical researchers have access to these embryos? At least their creation would have had some higher purpose and meaning and would not have been wasted.

Many people are outraged at Octomom and the potential burden she has placed on our welfare system. She did it because she didn't want her embryos to be destroyed. What if everyone who had embryos at fertility clinics thought this way, how many other octomoms would there be and at what cost to taxpayers?

If this research can find cures for people with debilitating illnesses then it will eventually bring down the rising cost of health care that is a burden to millions of Americans. This is an investment in the health and welfare not only of our nation but the world.

Posted by: Nevadaandy | March 9, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Now that's the man I voted for! When Obama not only removes the restrictions on stem cell research, but makes it clear that political motives should not and will not interfere with science in general, that is the sign of a true leader. The Dark Ages (2000-2008)are truly over.

Posted by: JimZ1 | March 9, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Republicans just don't get it!

Posted by: hiberniantears | March 9, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"but with significant skepticism among those on the conservative right."

Oh please -- none of these people has a shred of credibility. They admit all they care about is trying to make sure that Obama fails -- and blocking every single thing he tries to do. As David Frum, conservative speechwriter for GW Bush wrote in Newsweek this week, the R party has turned into a cult who would rather see America in ruins than see Democrats succeed.

Posted by: drindl | March 9, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

If you are a fertile woman and you know that life begins at conception, it is immoral for you to refuse to carry to term an ensouled human residing at any of the many fertility clinics in the country. YOU and you alone have the God-given capacity to bring these poor, tortured, frozen, and forgotten children into the world.
The religious belief structure that supports the concept of full human life attached to fertilized embryoes must include acts of affirmation.
Put your womb where your morals are. There are no excuses for shirking your moral duty to save these children.

Posted by: PaxChaosium | March 9, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

"So let me get this straight. The so-called moralists of the xtian right want people to suffer and die so that stem cells can be saved?"

No, this is an unfair characterization of the position. I'm sure we could greatly advance medical research if we take homeless guys and cut them up and test drugs on them and stuff. We could alleviate a lot of suffering that way.

But no one would support this position, and with good reason. That's how some people feel about stem cell research. It's not that they are against the benefits, its that they are against the methodology. Look, everyone has a line where they think signifies an ethical boundary. Simply because someone has a different line doesn't mean that person is in favor of suffering.

Now don't get me wrong, there are a lot of religious and political leaders who are happy to use this as a wedge issue. I think there is no question that these people are pricks, but let's not mischaracterize the real debate.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 9, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

TO: dcn1

THANK YOU for confirming in your post below that certain elements slander and libel so-called "dissidents" by attempting to marginalize them as mentally defective.

Indeed, my reporting indicates that this despotic tactic has motivated a "multi-agency action" that continues to covertly assault innocent but "targeted" U.S. citizens with silent microwave radiation weapons...

...the same sort of weaponry that the Bush Justice Department approved for deployment to law enforcement agencies nationwide.

***

TO: Dennis Blair, DNI

How long are you going to tolerate these covert "black ops"...

...or dcn1's lame psy ops?

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 9, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

When asked to comment, RNC chair Mike Steele said he would have to check with GOP leader Rush Limbaugh before saying anything about anything.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | March 9, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Why are Republicans against life?

Posted by: havok26 | March 9, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Goodness. You wouldn't want to pick fights with the conservative right and thereby drain your energy for the important work of stoking up the economy. Public funding of research into cures for diseases that involves putting embryonic stem cells to work is too much like abortion for the conservative right to handle. So they minimize its importance while opposing the technology. "Not with my tax dollars, you don't," they say. "It's immoral," they say. And that's because religious leaders have declared it to be immoral the same way religious leaders declared that the sun revolves around the earth. Should your little girl who broke her back while riding a horse be denied treatment that restores her ability to walk because some bishop somewhere makes a speech opposing research into development of that treatment? It's okay for men to send men into battle where men's hearts are pierced by bullets. But get anywhere near a womb and that organ is off limits. Embryos that are created in glass haven't yet seen a womb. Many of them are destined for disposal because siblings have produced the desired pregnancy. However, better to dispose than use for medical treatment. That's doctrine. Damn nonsense foolishness.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | March 9, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

PS. -- Anyone reading this with access to decision-makers on Team Obama (notably, David Axelrod) and in Congress: Please send them this missive. Posted by: scrivener50 | March 9, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse
…………………………………………………………
Rest assured, the administration has secure phone links to the padded cell wings at most mental hospitals!

Posted by: dcn1 | March 9, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

The argument against embryonic stem cell research is predicated upon the notion that human embryos would be destroyed for the sole purpose of stem cell harvesting.

However, one of the greatest sources of embryos is fertility clinics, which routinely discard scores of unneeded embryos. They are a byproduct of this industry. Researchers have simply been asking to essentially rummage through the trash here.

If pro-life groups are against the use of embryonic stem cells because they feel that these embryos are sacred, then they should follow through and extend their protestations to the fertility clinics that have been flushing embryos down the toilet for the last eight years.

The whole slippery slope argument leads these reactionary pro lifers to the silly conclusion that women could be paid to have abortions so that researchers could harvest the embryos. Then again, that's about the only scenario that would conjure up enough support to overlook the overwhelming scientific possibilities of embryonic stem cell research.

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 9, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

RobT1 writes
"How about the basic ethical issue of destroying HUMAN embryos, no matter how noble the ultimate purpose, for scientific research or even for medical treatments. We're not talking about experimenting on monkeys or rats. We're talking about human experimentation."

Its not quite that simple. We're talking about a clump of cells. There is research here, at the U of MN, that is using human skin cells a somehow manipulating them to convert them into stem cells - just like those that are in embryos. This is also 'human' experimentation. Every drug trial, or medical device test is also 'human' experimentation. Which type of experimentation is across the line & why?

Posted by: bsimon1 | March 9, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I think I'll skip my eggs this morning...maybe, just have a muffin..instead.

Posted by: newbeeboy | March 9, 2009 10:25 AM |
________________________________________

lol

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | March 9, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Human embryo stem cells? No not a good Idea. Is Obama playing GOD? Of course he is. He is about a Good a Christian as you are Chris.

Posted by: poptoy1949 | March 9, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

If the Church and the "christians" want to stay in the Political process dictating the laws of the land then It's come time to get rid of the Churches tax-exempt status. If we are to be governed by some well financed mythology, then they lose their tax-exempt status. The churches drive the same roads, use the same police and FD's the rest of us do. If believing in fairey tales and fantasy gives them solace, good for them.

But when they Treat the bible as a "Govt of Idiots" book or a text book in science class , thats a different story. Time for the churches and organized Religion to start pulling their weight is now, instead of constantly standing in the way of Social, Medical and National advancement.

Posted by: mjlew01 | March 9, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

"It is dangerous for the Obama administration to pick a wide series of fights," said Gingrich.

SO let's widen our series of fights with the Gingrich/Limbaugh Taliban,

and let's make sure that they stand by their principles and refuse to be treated with stem-cell derived medicines and treatments.

Posted by: lichtme | March 9, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

All the people commenting here who are pro stem cell research keep going on and on about how it's science versus religion. Like the only argument against stem cell research is religous. How about the basic ethical issue of destroying HUMAN embryos, no matter how noble the ultimate purpose, for scientific research or even for medical treatments. We're not talking about experimenting on monkeys or rats. We're talking about human experimentation. You don't have to be religous to find the concept abhorrent. If the argument is the means justify the ends why stop at human embryos? Why not experiment on bums and whinos? They certainly aren't contributing to society and are just throwing their lives away anyway. A slipery slope.

Posted by: RobT1 | March 9, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I think I'll skip my eggs this morning...maybe, just have a muffin..instead.

Posted by: newbeeboy | March 9, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Recently, scientist developed the ability to standardize the process of producing Human Embryos. With this ability to indentify and standardize the process of producing Human Embryos, we can now also use the same starting point to determine when a Human Embryo has human rights under the law of the Constitution of the United States.

Indeed, is a human any less human becomes they cannot fend or care for themselves? Does a US citizen give up their Constitutional Rights because they are not able to defend themselves?

Posted by: racecarmat2003 | March 9, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

So let me get this straight. The so-called moralists of the xtian right want people to suffer and die so that stem cells can be saved?

Tell me again why we are supposed to respect religions that teach people to think this way? Sounds to me like we should treat these religious as dangerous mental disorders.

Posted by: bigbrother1 | March 9, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Also, no expert on stem cell research believes that these alternative sources of stem cells are nearly as good as true embryonic stem cells.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 9, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

By the way, jcox998, you delued yourself if you think there is any logic in the pro-life argument. If it has any validity it is based solely on the premise that there is a god, that god creates life and that life is sacred. For the record, there is no solid evidence to prove any of these notions. Faith is great for those who have it, but it should not be the basis of our laws. Plain and simple. Don't like abortions? Don't have one.

Posted by: October10S | March 9, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

If Orrin Hatch, an ultra-conservative from an ultra-conservative state, supports embryonic stem cell research, I think it's fair to conclude that the right-wing does not speak with one voice on this issue.

Perhaps more importantly, the president will sign a second executive order designed to further separate science and politics. This should be a refreshing change from the last administration.

Posted by: -pamela | March 9, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

"Embyonic research is the quintessential divisive issue "

Embryonic research is a divisive issue the same way the concept of a round earth is a divisive issue. Yeah, each side has its opponents, but they are a fringe minority.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 9, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

this was designed as a wedge issue to appeal to social conservatives.

the charade is over.

and so are the social conservatives.

Posted by: vigor | March 9, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

The right wing still doesn't get it. THEY LOST!!! That means all of their stupid, religion based, anti-science, pro-wealthy policies are going to get reversed. Why don't they stop crying about it and move on. America voted and we said we want stem cell research and we want the religious right to keep their politics out of our science. I dont' see how this is a distraction. Unlike McCain, Obama can multitask. It's a wonderulf thing.

Posted by: October10S | March 9, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Screw the social conservatives. Move forward with the research. Pass a law that mandates that every citizen sign a statement in support of stem cell research, or face a ban on ever recieving any personal medical benefit from the work. That means that when you dummies get cancer, you are gonna die - hopefully in a painful and miserable way. IDIOTS!

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | March 9, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I am so conservative I think John Birch was a socialist... But, the Bush administration was 100% wrong on this issue - and numerous others...
We must have stem cell research... And those opposing it need to discard superstition and start using common sense...

dr. o

Posted by: ad4hk2004 | March 9, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

When did Bush sign the order banning stem cell funding... Aug. 9, 2001.

His love of partisan politics and hating science got in the way of protecting the country on 9/11.

Posted by: PJF311 | March 9, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

So Newt wants to be President, but thinks Obama should only be focus on the economy. Ah, the GOP. The party that cant chew gum and walk at the same time.

How does Obama signing a order to release stem cells stop from helping the economy.

So lame.

And can any crazies tell me what parent wants to use the decade old frozen stem cells to make there baby?

Posted by: PJF311 | March 9, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Obama loves the poor so much, he is determined to make us all poor.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 9, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Newt was previously on record as supporting human embryonic stem cell research (and opposed to GWB's restriction). Look this up ca. 2001-02. Why the change now? Fighting progress and inhibiting work to cure diseases does not seem like a good plan for the GOP. Some Repubs understand this (Specter, Hatch, etc). Hopefully, signing this Executive order and then having Congress pass a law to this effect will end the ridiculous debate on this stem cell issue that the vast majority of American's agree with. Then we can move on to the business of fixing the economy, ending wars, helping the environment, etc.

Posted by: DSK1231 | March 9, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

ON THE ONE HAND, TEAM OBAMA PROMOTES SEARCHING FOR CURES.

AND ON THE OTHER, IT ALLOWS AN AMERICAN GENOCIDE CRAFTED OR ACCELERATED BY BUSH-CHENEY IDEOLOGUES TO INFECT HIS PRESIDENCY.

OBAMA SHOULD NOW REALIZE THAT REV. WRIGHT WAS RIGHT.

President Obama does not yet seem to be cognizant of a frightening reality -- that the Bush "torture memos" were used to justify "programs of personal destruction" that REMAIN IN PLACE ON HIS WATCH.

Obama must come to realize that federal agencies and commands have enabled the ONGOING covert microwave radiation weapons torture and physical degradation of U.S. citizens deemed "undesirables," "mental defectives" and "dissents"...

...as well as the nationwide GPS-enabled "community gang stalking" of U.S. citizens, who are hunted down like prey by citizen vigilante goons as "target" vehicles and implanted GPS devices enter the "crown of evil" GPS screen grid of the gang-stalkers.

It appears that Obama and most liberal/progressives have yet to realize that the "war on terror" appears to have been a premeditated pretext for an American genocide/politicide -- a horrific silent holocaust that has destroyed, and continues to destroy, untold thousands, if not millions, of American families and no doubt has contributed to economic tumult.

One person who WAS aware, and deserves vindication, is the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

What has been happened since the dawning of the Bush administration has turned a just society into the "US of KKK-A," as harsh and impolitic as that sounds.

And the 21st century version of the Klan -- an American Gestapo -- remains on the march -- hiding behind covert federal "programs of personal financial destruction" and federally-funded community policing and town watch programs co-sponsored by local law enforcement nationwide.

President Obama must act immediately to restore American civil and human rights -- because each day he delays, the forces running these programs, the forces who will resist whatever "change" his presidency offers, are one day closer to making it impossible him to fulfill the "hope" he still embodies.

For more on "Gestapo USA" and why team Obama must move immediately to dismantle the Bush-Cheney "extrajudicial punishment network"...

http://My.NowPublic.com/scrivener

PS. -- Anyone reading this with access to decision-makers on Team Obama (notably, David Axelrod) and in Congress: Please send them this missive.

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 9, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Overturning the stem cell ban is only a controversial move for the extreme right and evangelicals. That is far from a majority of Americans.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | March 9, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

the war is lost. The surge won't work. Time to seek out our enemies and beg to surrender.

Sound familiar. Our new best friends- the Taliban, Cuba and Syria.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 9, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Stem cell research on human embryos is just a continuation of Obama's conception to birth abortion on demand philosopy. According to Obama and people like him, you don't officially become a human being until after you are born. Until then everything goes: abortion for any reason, medical research, etc. According to Obama even if a baby is born alive as a result of botched abortion it's ok to throw that baby into the trash since the original intent was to abort and therefore that baby isn't really human. The argument that scientists are only going to use embryos from fertility clinics that are going to be discarded is extremely misleading. Sure initial research will only use those embryos but if some type of cure is ever developed those fertility clinic embryos won't be anywhere enough. The medical industry will need millions of embryos a year. Where do you think all those embryos will come from? Bascially you will need a human embryo factory where women and men are paid to create unborn children that will then be harvested and used to churn out medical therapies. Human being will be created soley to be destroyed. Is that the kind of society we want to live in?

Posted by: RobT1 | March 9, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

the messiah intends to commit maximum harm in the shortest time before everyone confirms what a disaster his admin already is. We have nancy running things while he is still campaigning. Harry bumbling a vast majority into ineptitude. The cabinet replete with cheats. Every promise broken. Economy in shambles.

Exactly who thought a high school kid could lead?

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 9, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Embyonic research is the quintessential divisive issue and Mr. Change is following the political partisan textbook word for word. Pro lifers, like me, have to object to creating or even using embryoes for research. Were we to agree that this is appropriate, no matter how compelling any science is, we would forfeit any logic in the abortion debate. Once you even acknowledge that you can kill an embryo or use it for research, you would be forced to say that embryoes are not life. This is of course, contrary to our moral beliefs and religious teaching.

Of course, medical science has solved the issue somewhat, as the ban has produced an effort to do the same or similar research with stem cells derived from placentas, etc. Leaving at that would of course, not satisfy the pro abortion crowd that was a significant part of the president's political support. They want embryoes considered less than life as that helps their abortion argument.

So much for ending the poison partisanship.......

Posted by: jcox998 | March 9, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

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