March 1, 2024

A Trump bioethics commission

Will Trump establish a president’s council on bioethics?

Will Trump establish a president’s council on bioethics?

It’s too early to say anything certain. Yet Jonathan D. Moreno, ethicist and senior advisor to Obama’s Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, says that there are signs that a Trump administration could establish an advisory body.

Writing in the Huffington Post, Moreno said that any future commission would probably need a specific set of issues to focus on:

“A number of experiments involving human reproductive material could stimulate a reaction from the new administration, especially if [Ben] Carson is in charge of that policy territory. For example, the development of gametes from somatic cells has recently been reported, potentially facilitating male-only reproduction. And next year the National Academies will release a consensus study on gene editing, a discussion into which the new administration might also wish to insert itself.”

Moreno speculates about how Trump’s ‘deregulatory’ mindset may influence his attitude toward the biomedical and bioethical policy:

How this plays out will depend in part on whether the early hints of a deregulatory orientation to government extend into the ethics of the life sciences. If it does, there will be less of an interventionist tendency. If it does not (and that’s my guess), then we can expect the stridently ideological voices to have much to say about activities in science labs that appear to conflict with their core values.

It remains to be seen how Trump’s policies will affect ongoing scientific research that utilizes embryonic stem cells or fetal tissue.

Kevin McCormack, communications director at California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, said it would be difficult to reintroduce a funding ban to stymie embryonic stem cell research.

“It would be like putting a genie back in the bottle,” said McCormack.

The last Republican president, George W. Bush, signed an executive order that stopped all federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, except for a handful of cell lines that had already been cultivated from embryos.

A Trump bioethics commission
Xavier Symons
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