Obama Ends Bush Ban on
Embryonic Stem Cell Research Funding
(Top Posts - Social/Legal - 031109)
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March 9, 2009
Obama overturns Bush policy on stem cells
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President Obama signed an executive order
Monday repealing a Bush-era policy that
limited federal tax dollars for embryonic stem
Obama's move overturns an order signed by
President Bush in 2001 that barred the National
Institutes of Health from funding research on
embryonic stem cells beyond using 60 cell lines
that existed at that time.
Obama also signed a presidential memorandum
establishing greater independence for federal
science policies and programs.
"In recent years, when it comes to stem cell
research, rather than furthering discovery, our
government has forced what I believe is a false
choice between sound science and moral values,"
Obama said at the White House.
"In this case, I believe the two are not inconsist-
ent. 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 capa-
city and will to pursue this research -- and the
humanity and conscience to do so responsibly."
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See a map of nations that have taken the lead
in using human embryos in stem cell research
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Researchers highly value embryonic stem cells
because of their potential to turn into any organ
or tissue cell in the body.
In February, a group of six moderate GOP con-
gressmen sent a letter to Obama urging him to
lift the funding ban.
Former first lady Nancy Reagan also issued a
statement Monday thanking Obama for lifting
"These new rules will now make it possible for
scientists to move forward," Reagan said. "Count-
less people, suffering from many different diseases,
stand to benefit from the answers stem cell research
can provide. We owe it to ourselves and to our
children to do everything in our power to find cures
for these diseases."
President Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's
disease after leaving office -- an affliction that many
scientists say eventually may be cured with the help
of embryonic stem cell research.
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