More Bush 2.0

Remember when Obama signed an executive order lifting the Bush stem cell research ban?  (Which was actually a ban on using federal money to create new embryonic stem cell lines?)  Way back in, uh, last week?

“Obama Signs Law Banning Federal Embryo Research Two Days After Signing Executive Order to OK It.”

Bush 2.0.  Here’s what he just signed:

President Barack Obama signed a law that explicilty bans federal funding of any “research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death.”

That means that his policy on stem cell research funding is now identical to Bush.

My personal opinion is that embryonic stem cells are a losing technology, in that there are other sources that are more promising, have much bigger supplies, and are much bigger to deal with.  I think it is a waste to spend federal money on that research, and would oppose it on that standard alone.  In addition, I’m still squishy on where life begins, and this seems to be needlessly close to the line if not over it, and the ethical thing to do would be to prohibit it as violence against a possible human life.

So I think that Obama has done the right thing now, and it is an even easier choice than when Bush did it, when there weren’t the other promising stem cell sources.  But the question is why did he do it the way he did?

I guess the easiest explanation is that this was his plan all along, and he just dropped the other order because his supporters were hysterical Bush Bashers and he figured that would be enough to make them happy.  This assumes that he thinks his supporters are stupid or gullible enough to think that “Bush does A” is bad but “Obama does A” is good.  He might be right, but I think back to the Lincoln “some of the people all of the time” saying.

Another explanation is that he just doesn’t understand what he is doing.  The story also says,

In the remarks he made Monday when announcing the executive order, President Obama said he wanted to close the door to “the use” of cloning for human reproduction but not for other purposes.

So in this instance, Obama and his advisors are just too incompetent on the subject of biology to understand that what they were really banning was embryonic stem cell research.  That isn’t exactly unbelievable.  They’ve shown a lack of understanding in pretty much any subject they’ve tackled, so this would be par for the course.

The funny thing is, it isn’t just his executive order that does this.  In the Omnibus spending bill, this language was snuck through:

SEC. 509. (a) None of the funds made available in this Act may be used for—(1) the creation of a human embryo or embryos for research purposes; or (2) research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death greater than that allowed for research on fetuses in utero under 45 CFR 46.204(b) and section 498(b) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 289g(b)).

So now the research funding is banned by executive order and the Omnibus Spending Bill.  The two options we have on that is, 1) Obama knew that it was in the bill before he signed it, and did it because it is in line with what he was going to make the policy in a couple of days anyways, or 2) He had no idea it was in the bill, because he didn’t make Congress take the 72 hours he said he was going to, and they didn’t have time to find it, he didn’t go through it line-by-line like he said he would, so he didn’t find it, and he didn’t give the five days sunshine with the bill posted on the internet before he signed it like he said he would so The People could read it and find this section.

All in all, it is a screwed up situation, and the screw ups all lead to the White House.

One Comment

  1. MattJ says:

    You can take somatic cells and clone them to make stem cells. It’s not tough.

    I’ve always wondered, however, which the FDA will force out of trials first: the stem cells, or the toxic soup of mutagens and carcinogens that the stem cells have to live in to avoid becoming cancer cells.