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Obama’s new radical stem-cell policy

This just in from the White House: Starting today, only farmers set agriculture subsidy levels, generals decide about going to war and the new all-powerful Czar of Tax Policy is our old friend, the IRS.

Americans would be rightly appalled and indignant if the above scenario came to pass. Yet we nod our heads like sheep in a herd when President Obama offers the same rationale in signing an executive order forcing taxpayers to fund embryonic stem-cell research.

“Promoting science isn’t just about providing resources,” intoned Obama during a photo op with a carefully screened audience of researchers, “It is about letting scientists like those here today do their jobs, free from manipulation or coercion…it is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology.”

Unfortunately, a shameless distortion of scientific facts combined with over-the-top ideology is driving Obama’s political gesticulation. Let’s step back from the fringe and examine reality.

Embryonic stem-cell research (ESCR) always involves the manipulation and destruction of live human embryos, the so-called “unwanted leftovers” resulting from assisted reproductive technology procedures like IVF. If adopted and/or implanted into a woman, these same embryos — we are all former embryos — grow, are born and mature into adults.

Despite the breathless hype, not one condition or injury has ever been cured with ESCR, and even proponents admit cures are decades away — if they happen at all. In fact, the goal of the only FDA-approved ESCR study is to not cause more damage to spinal cord injury patients targeted for research. Hope for cures indeed.

Obama also denounced human cloning, but only (and this is important) for reproductive purposes. Apparently, cloning human life for the sole purpose of destroying it in costly, unproven experiments is okay.

White House handlers conveniently concealed the fact that there’s a new, easier and more cost-effective way to produce embryonic-like stem cells without creating or destroying human lives. There’s no mention of the other kind of stem cell — adult stem cells — those microscopic building blocks found in every person now being used to help tens of thousands of patients suffering from dozens of diseases and conditions. In short, there are far less expensive, far more effective and humane alternatives to embryo-destructive research.

As the father of a son with severe disabilities, no one hopes for cures more than me. But ESCR hope is empty, cruel and barbaric, destined for the trash heap of medicine. Farmers don’t set Ag policy; soldiers don’t decide when to take up arms and IRS accountants work for us, not the other way around. Why let scientists set public policy? None of this makes sense, unless you follow the money. Obama is all-too-willing to hand out blank checks and coerce American taxpayers to take part in unethical and expensive experiments to nowhere that we will all pay dearly for, in dollars, cents and human lives.

Chuck Weber is executive director of SaintMax Worldwide (www.saintmaxworldwide.org), a Kansas-based nonprofit communications group specializing in bioethics.

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The Leaven

The Leaven is the official newspaper for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

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