Obama allows doing anything to embryos except clone them

President Obama went further than anyone thought in lifting the restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Not only did he allow funding for research using existing stem cell lines made from embryos and making new stem cell lines from embryos set to be thrown away. Our taxpayer money may now be used to engender new living embryos just so they can be experimented upon and killed!

President Obama, however, said at the signing ceremony, that he does NOT believe in and will see that the government does not allow human cloning. He said, “It is dangerous, profoundly wrong and has no place in our society or any society.”

Well, good. But why does he call opposing human embryo experimentation being hostile to science and interfering with the progress of scientific research, while his opposing human cloning is OK? Why is he for one kind of embryo engineering but against another kind? Might not grinding up human embryos in an attempt to make medicine for adults also be ” dangerous, profoundly wrong,” deserving “no place in our society or any society”?

To me, it seems that human cloning is LESS wrong than harvesting embryos. With cloning, you at least get life. With embryo experimentation you kill life. Of course, cloning procedures usually generate many embryos that are later “disposed of.” So I am against cloning also. But I am struck by how repulsed many people are at the very thought of cloning, considering a clone some kind of soulless monster that should be killed. But if you are cloned, what you would end up with is just an identical twin. Who is also your sibling. “Profoundly wrong,” yes, but what the president has just allowed is “dangerous.”

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Dan Kempin

    I was thinking about this yesterday, and when I saw your post I was going to share my thoughts. Upon reading the final paragraph, though, I see that you have come very precisely to the same conclusion, so thanks for saving me the trouble.

    I will add that yesterday's press conference was a shameful piece of political showboating that showed very little actual regard for or understanding of the issues involved. There was no mention of anything coherently scientific, and I think the strong words against cloning were calculated to make it "seem" as though the administration has an ethical underpinning. As you point out, he condemned cloning without giving any reason why it is wrong. This momentous policy shiftt, which will undoubtedly result in the death (or destruction, if you prefer) of thousands of embryos, was glibly presented as another "in your face" to George Bush.

  • Dan Kempin

    I was thinking about this yesterday, and when I saw your post I was going to share my thoughts. Upon reading the final paragraph, though, I see that you have come very precisely to the same conclusion, so thanks for saving me the trouble.

    I will add that yesterday's press conference was a shameful piece of political showboating that showed very little actual regard for or understanding of the issues involved. There was no mention of anything coherently scientific, and I think the strong words against cloning were calculated to make it "seem" as though the administration has an ethical underpinning. As you point out, he condemned cloning without giving any reason why it is wrong. This momentous policy shiftt, which will undoubtedly result in the death (or destruction, if you prefer) of thousands of embryos, was glibly presented as another "in your face" to George Bush.

  • Manxman

    From the CrunchyCon web site –

    What chaps my bottom is the pretense that Obama and the pro-ESCR folks have the morally neutral position. They don't. They are not keeping politics (or morality) out of science; they are only applying their own political and moral values to the practice of science. It's called applied bioethics.

    Beware people who try to claim that science is, and should be, morally neutral. Whenever policymakers, both in government and in the medical field, decide that this practice will be permitted, but that won't be, they are engaged in imposing moral values on science. If you believe science should not be subject to the restraints of morality, but only to itself, you had better make your apologies to Dr. Mengele.

  • Manxman

    From the CrunchyCon web site –

    What chaps my bottom is the pretense that Obama and the pro-ESCR folks have the morally neutral position. They don't. They are not keeping politics (or morality) out of science; they are only applying their own political and moral values to the practice of science. It's called applied bioethics.

    Beware people who try to claim that science is, and should be, morally neutral. Whenever policymakers, both in government and in the medical field, decide that this practice will be permitted, but that won't be, they are engaged in imposing moral values on science. If you believe science should not be subject to the restraints of morality, but only to itself, you had better make your apologies to Dr. Mengele.

  • http://www.sdsmith.net sd smith

    The President is more and more becoming eerily like the predecessor, or the manifestation, of Dystopian novel Leaders.

  • http://www.sdsmith.net sd smith

    The President is more and more becoming eerily like the predecessor, or the manifestation, of Dystopian novel Leaders.

  • Elaine

    I have never commented on your blog before. I am a big fan of your writing, particularly "The Spirituality of the Cross." What angers me most about Obama's proclamation is it's callous disregard for fact. He can't possibly NOT know about the successes using adult stem cells. In my view, his vehement pro-abortion, pro-murder agenda is profoundly evil. It frightens and saddens me. Kyrie eleison.

  • Elaine

    I have never commented on your blog before. I am a big fan of your writing, particularly "The Spirituality of the Cross." What angers me most about Obama's proclamation is it's callous disregard for fact. He can't possibly NOT know about the successes using adult stem cells. In my view, his vehement pro-abortion, pro-murder agenda is profoundly evil. It frightens and saddens me. Kyrie eleison.

  • Bob Hunter

    At least we know there won't be another Obama to take over.

  • Bob Hunter

    At least we know there won't be another Obama to take over.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I agree with everything you've said here, Veith. But what a monster they could paint you to be with all your support for cloning now. They are always the intellectually superior, neutral ones. We're the haters – we're always throwing around our moral opinions and our "pseudo-science".

    How high and wonderful our president is. Weep now for the millions who will never even have a chance to weep. Every American is a monster now.

    What is it that will keep us from killing the elderly whose use to society has run its course (in our opinion); especially if we can come up with a scientific breakthrough their elimination will push forward on behalf of young crippled people in wheelchairs?

    We are moving in an extremely dangerous direction. Shame on President Obama!

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I agree with everything you've said here, Veith. But what a monster they could paint you to be with all your support for cloning now. They are always the intellectually superior, neutral ones. We're the haters – we're always throwing around our moral opinions and our "pseudo-science".

    How high and wonderful our president is. Weep now for the millions who will never even have a chance to weep. Every American is a monster now.

    What is it that will keep us from killing the elderly whose use to society has run its course (in our opinion); especially if we can come up with a scientific breakthrough their elimination will push forward on behalf of young crippled people in wheelchairs?

    We are moving in an extremely dangerous direction. Shame on President Obama!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/PeterLeavitt PeterLeavitt

    It's becomng increasingly clear that Obama is a political, economic, and scientific ideolog who, as Karl Rove recently remarked, is winging it in the White House. With recent developments in stem-cell research, had Obama thought the issue through, he could have built a bridge to those who have moral and ethical concerns about the destruction of embryos. Instead he proceeded bliithely ahead in order to throw some more red meat out to his leftist base.

    Ryan Anderson, an incisive analyst of the stem-cell research issue writes the following today in an article, Perpetuating a Needless Stem-Cell War Obama's decision is bad ethics, bad science, and bad politics.

    Obama's rhetoric this morning was notably toned-down. When speaking of Christopher Reeve, he expressed regret that Reeve was never able to walk again. He predicted that "if we pursue this research, maybe one day–maybe not in our lifetime, or even in our children's lifetime–but maybe one day, others like him might." What happened to the promises from the Democratic Convention of 2004 that a personal repair kit was right around the corner? In fact, after a decade of research on embryonic stem cells (which, despite media spin, has remained legal even as federal funding was restricted), there are no clinically available treatments using embryonic stem cells. Only one study has been approved by the FDA for testing, and the tests have not begun. Meanwhile, after just 18 months of research on induced pluripotent stem cells, scientists are just a "hair's breadth" away.

    Bad ethics and bad science, Obama's decision earlier this morning is bad politics, too. Obama ran on a platform of fulfilling George W. Bush's promise to be a uniter, not a divider–to be the president of the entire United States, and not just of special interests. He acknowledged this morning that "many thoughtful and decent people are conflicted about, or strongly oppose, [embryo-destructive] research." He said that he "understands their concerns" and that "we must respect their point of view." As such, he promised "that we will never undertake this research lightly. We will support it only when it is both scientifically worthy and responsibly conducted." But by his actions today, Obama has shown himself to take unnecessarily divisive approaches to controversial questions. He has committed the nation–and all its taxpayers–to supporting unethical, lethal research. Beyond the objective wrong committed, this is likely to have political consequences: Given Obama's efforts to woo religious voters, this decision may come back to haunt him.

    Anderson, also, points out the moral concerns of Thompson and Yamanaka, the scientists who pioneered stem-cell research that didn;t require the destruction of embryos:

    And this isn't just some obscure pro-life worry. In 2007, when the great breakthrough of induced pluripotent stem cell technology was announced, both of the scientists behind the new technique explained the moral concerns that drove their research. Dr. Shinya Yamanaka told the New York Times: "When I saw the embryo, I suddenly realized there was such a small difference between it and my daughters. I thought, we can't keep destroying embryos for our research. There must be another way." At the same time, Dr. James Thomson, the original discoverer of embryonic stem cells, told the Times: "If human embryonic stem cell research does not make you at least a little bit uncomfortable, you have not thought about it enough. I thought long and hard about whether I would do it." He went on to add that because of this latest technique, "a decade from now, this will be just a funny historical footnote."

    Obama, also, has daughters, though he is utterly lacking in the human discomfort of these two scientists. A pox on him.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/PeterLeavitt PeterLeavitt

    It's becomng increasingly clear that Obama is a political, economic, and scientific ideolog who, as Karl Rove recently remarked, is winging it in the White House. With recent developments in stem-cell research, had Obama thought the issue through, he could have built a bridge to those who have moral and ethical concerns about the destruction of embryos. Instead he proceeded bliithely ahead in order to throw some more red meat out to his leftist base.

    Ryan Anderson, an incisive analyst of the stem-cell research issue writes the following today in an article, Perpetuating a Needless Stem-Cell War Obama's decision is bad ethics, bad science, and bad politics.

    Obama's rhetoric this morning was notably toned-down. When speaking of Christopher Reeve, he expressed regret that Reeve was never able to walk again. He predicted that "if we pursue this research, maybe one day–maybe not in our lifetime, or even in our children's lifetime–but maybe one day, others like him might." What happened to the promises from the Democratic Convention of 2004 that a personal repair kit was right around the corner? In fact, after a decade of research on embryonic stem cells (which, despite media spin, has remained legal even as federal funding was restricted), there are no clinically available treatments using embryonic stem cells. Only one study has been approved by the FDA for testing, and the tests have not begun. Meanwhile, after just 18 months of research on induced pluripotent stem cells, scientists are just a "hair's breadth" away.

    Bad ethics and bad science, Obama's decision earlier this morning is bad politics, too. Obama ran on a platform of fulfilling George W. Bush's promise to be a uniter, not a divider–to be the president of the entire United States, and not just of special interests. He acknowledged this morning that "many thoughtful and decent people are conflicted about, or strongly oppose, [embryo-destructive] research." He said that he "understands their concerns" and that "we must respect their point of view." As such, he promised "that we will never undertake this research lightly. We will support it only when it is both scientifically worthy and responsibly conducted." But by his actions today, Obama has shown himself to take unnecessarily divisive approaches to controversial questions. He has committed the nation–and all its taxpayers–to supporting unethical, lethal research. Beyond the objective wrong committed, this is likely to have political consequences: Given Obama's efforts to woo religious voters, this decision may come back to haunt him.

    Anderson, also, points out the moral concerns of Thompson and Yamanaka, the scientists who pioneered stem-cell research that didn;t require the destruction of embryos:

    And this isn't just some obscure pro-life worry. In 2007, when the great breakthrough of induced pluripotent stem cell technology was announced, both of the scientists behind the new technique explained the moral concerns that drove their research. Dr. Shinya Yamanaka told the New York Times: "When I saw the embryo, I suddenly realized there was such a small difference between it and my daughters. I thought, we can't keep destroying embryos for our research. There must be another way." At the same time, Dr. James Thomson, the original discoverer of embryonic stem cells, told the Times: "If human embryonic stem cell research does not make you at least a little bit uncomfortable, you have not thought about it enough. I thought long and hard about whether I would do it." He went on to add that because of this latest technique, "a decade from now, this will be just a funny historical footnote."

    Obama, also, has daughters, though he is utterly lacking in the human discomfort of these two scientists. A pox on him.

  • Nadine

    Remember, he's the same guy who said he didn't want one of his daughters to be "punished" with a baby (speaking on abortion during the campaign). After his new policy change on abortion funding, this can't be any surprise. It is, however, deeply troubling and grievous. I found it hilarious that Obama can find cloning "wrong" – how can he defend that? It doesn't make sense to me that one is right and one is wrong in his mind. I think he's just aligning himself with the views of those who are considered "intellectuals," that is, the popular (liberal) ones.

  • Nadine

    Remember, he's the same guy who said he didn't want one of his daughters to be "punished" with a baby (speaking on abortion during the campaign). After his new policy change on abortion funding, this can't be any surprise. It is, however, deeply troubling and grievous. I found it hilarious that Obama can find cloning "wrong" – how can he defend that? It doesn't make sense to me that one is right and one is wrong in his mind. I think he's just aligning himself with the views of those who are considered "intellectuals," that is, the popular (liberal) ones.

  • allen

    Hippocrates said "Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food."

    A thought experiment suggests itself. Suppose it were discovered that there were health benefits associated with eating human embryos?

    What logically consistent argument against that could be raised by those who favor converting them into medicines and injecting them instead?

  • allen

    Hippocrates said "Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food."

    A thought experiment suggests itself. Suppose it were discovered that there were health benefits associated with eating human embryos?

    What logically consistent argument against that could be raised by those who favor converting them into medicines and injecting them instead?

  • MarkB

    Unfortunately, President Obama's supposed objection to cloning is not what it seems. Please refer to the article
    http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.asp

  • MarkB

    Unfortunately, President Obama's supposed objection to cloning is not what it seems. Please refer to the article
    http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.asp

  • Carl Vehse

    Monica's ex-boyfriend also has problems in trying to explain why he supports government funding of embryonic stem cell research.

  • Carl Vehse

    Monica's ex-boyfriend also has problems in trying to explain why he supports government funding of embryonic stem cell research.


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