At the end of this order we see:
Sec. 5. Revocations. (a) The Presidential statement of August 9, 2001, limiting Federal funding for research involving human embryonic stem cells, shall have no further effect as a statement of governmental policy.
(b) Executive Order 13435 of June 20, 2007, which supplements the August 9, 2001, statement on human embryonic stem cell research, is revoked.
The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall conduct and support research on the isolation, derivation, production, and testing of stem cells that are capable of producing all or almost all of the cell types of the developing body and may result in improved understanding of or treatments for diseases and other adverse health conditions, but are derived without creating a human embryo for research purposes or destroying, discarding, or subjecting to harm a human embryo or fetus.
So basically rescinding this order seems to do a couple of things.
1. It appears to take away funding for research which has produced results, and focus it on stem cell therapy that has thus far not shown any results. (HT: Melissa Clouthier) Mike Hartwig of the Iowa Family Policy Center notes:
Not only is the President’s order on shaky moral ground, it’s not medically necessary. Recently, scientists have taken adult stem-cells and moved closer to a cure for Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, over 70 diseases like juvenile diabetes and heart disease have been treated through adult stem cells research. Comparatively, embryonic stem cell research shows no promise. Even Dr. James Thomson, who first grew human ESC (embryonic stem cells) in 1998, has pulled his resources from embryos and invested in induced pluripotent or iPS (adult stem cell) research. Adult stem cells are easier to access, cheaper to reproduce, and are proving to be far superior in providing the types of treatment embryonic stem cell proponents claim to hope for.
2. This could still open up the possibility of going further than what ESCR proponents were asking for by opening up funding for creating embryos for stem cell research which Executive Order 13435 prohibited. This could be very open ended as an article in the Washington Post points out:
President Obama’s open-ended order lifting limits on federal funding for stem cell research raises the prospect that taxpayer money could be used for a much broader, much more controversial array of studies than many scientists, officials and activists anticipated.
Although the decision to allow expanded funding had been long expected, many thought Obama would limit federally funded scientists to working with cell lines derived from embryos destined to be discarded at infertility clinics. Instead, he left that key issue open.
The task of deciding what kinds of studies will be supported now falls to the National Institutes of Health, which finds itself confronting far more extensive questions than its officials were contemplating. It has 120 days to do the job.
Among other things, officials will have to decide whether to endorse studies on cells obtained from much more contentious sources, such as embryos created specifically for research or by means of cloning techniques.
HT: Lisa Graas
So let me understand this correctly… we are leaving the decision for safeguards and limitations with the very people who were clamoring for the money? Nice.
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