Stem cell research: Let's get the facts straight

Written by Rosa Colucci on .

The March 7 article "Obama Ready to Expand Stem Cell Research" opens with the sentence, "Reversing an 8-year-old limit on potentially life-saving science ? ." Looking up from the article after I finished reading it, the news teaser on the TV read: "Obama reverses stem cell policy." Please get it straight: President Obama is not "reversing" any stem cell policy -- he is expanding it as your headline indicated.

President Clinton refused to allow embryonic stem cell research. President Bush actually opened the door to limited research for the first time. So if President Obama was truly "reversing" the stem cell policy, we would go back to not having any embryonic stem cell research at all. And that would be fine with me as, unfortunately, it seems as though our president is more interested in advancing a pre-determined agenda than in actually creating policy based on truth.

Resolving the question of when human life begins is critical for advancing a reasoned debate over abortion and human embryo research. And according to a white paper published by the Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person, the scientific evidence of when life begins is clear. A new cell, the human zygote, comes into existence at the moment of sperm-egg fusion. The zygote immediately initiates a complex sequence of events that establish the molecular conditions required for continued embryonic development.

This, argues author Maureen Condic, indicates the life of a new human being commences at a scientifically well-defined "moment of conception." This conclusion is objective, consistent with the factual evidence and independent of any specific ethical, moral, political or religious view of human life or of human embryos.

This scientific fact is in complete opposition to the end of the sentence quoted above -- "life-saving science." People can read the white paper for themselves at




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