Adult Stem Cell Awareness

January 20, 2009

Obama May Not Use Executive Order on Stem Cell Funding

Filed under: Bill tracker — chelseaz @ 10:46 pm

President ObamaIn a recent interview with CNN president Barack Obama indicated that he would rather rely on Congress to rescind Bush’s ESCR funding policy instead of doing it himself by presidential executive order:

“Well, if we can do something legislative then I usually prefer a legislative process because those are the people’s representatives”

This is good news and potentially bad news. The good news is that we have a better opportunity to fight it this way. Not only will we be able to try to encourage our legislators, who we ideally would have more influence over, to oppose any such measure, but a bill would have to go through committee hearings and floor debate where the opposition will have more time to educate and be heard.

The bad news is that this process could result in a more radical pro-ESCR policy. Wesley Smith explains this in a comment on his own post:

There is something called the Dickey Amendment, that prevents federal money to be used in embryo destructive research. Clinton got around it by signing an executive order stating that while fed money wouldn’t go to making the stem cell lines–which involves embryo destruction–AFTER THEY ARE MADE, and if “excess” embryos were used, federal $ could be spent on ESCR. That passed a court test, but then Clinton went out of office before it got started.

Bush rescinded Clinton’s EO, and replaced it with the one that permits funding but only on stem cell lines in creation before 8.9.01. In that way there is no incentive to destroy embryos in anticipation of getting federal money.

Obama has said he will basically go back to the Clinton approach. But once he does that, the fire goes out of the issue.

If, however, he says to Congress, “You deal with it,” a whole new and more radical ball game is in the offing, not just for the ESCR funding policy, but I think perhaps Dickey ITSELF could be at risk because that has to pass each year as part of the budgetary process.

If Dickey is repealed, then fed $ can go to destroy the embryos as well as afterwards–and not just in ESCR, but for other experiments and to fund the creation of embryos for research as well as therapeutic cloning.

This is no guarantee, to be sure, but definitely something to watch out for.


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