March 3, 2024

Call to rethink stem cell policy

Statement from the Neuhaus Colloquium

The possibility that Federal funding for
human embryonic stem cell research may stop is breathing new life into debates on
the dignity of the embryo, the scientific imperative in public policy and respect
for the democratic process. In August Federal district court Judge Royce
Lamberth issued an injunction against funding for destructive embryo research
because, he said, it was clearly forbidden by the Dickey-Wicker Amendment. This
has been lifted temporarily, but it is still possible that scientists will lose
federal funding for projects which use material from destroyed embryos.

According to the Neuhaus Colloquium, this
is a positive step and a chance to reassess the Obama Administration’s policy
on embryonic stem cell research. A number of leading academics and journalists
– including Robert P. George, of Princeton, Mary Ann Glendon, of Harvard,
Joseph Bottum, of First Things, and Ramesh Ponnuru, of the National Review – have
called upon the President “to reverse his ill-conceived policy”.

In a statement in the journal First Things,
they argue that “the guidelines mark the first time in history that taxpayer
dollars have been conscripted into supporting and promoting the use and
destruction of living human beings”. Furthermore, it is mistaken to plead for
an exemption from ethical scrutiny because scientists need these cells. “The
notion that ‘the scientific community’ alone should determine what research
should be supported by federal funds betrays a serious misunderstanding of the
president’s responsibility, and of science policy in a democracy.” ~ First Things,

Michael Cook
stem cells