Back in March, President Barack Obama lifted restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. President Obama expressed concern about the “perils” of such research and asked the National Institutes of Health to draft requirements so that only ethically obtained stem cell lines would receive taxpayer money. The final rules were announced yesterday and go into effect today. While provisions such as informed consent are welcome, the bottom line is that the central issue of the protection of human life is ignored.
Catholic League president Bill Donohue weighed in on the new requirements:
President Obama and other supporters of embryonic stem cell research hide behind ethical requirements to justify using tax dollars for destroying nascent human life. Such guidelines beg the question: if there is no moral dimension to destroying human embryos, why is there a need for ethics rules? While the answer is obvious to people who understand that life begins at conception, advocates of embryo destruction give lip service to ethics while simultaneously pretending that there is no moral issue. The fact of the matter is these requirements are a distraction from the larger issue of the legal destruction of innocent human life.
In Pope Benedict XVI’s latest encyclical, Charity in Truth, he says “there is a lack of respect for the right to life…if human embryos are sacrificed to research….” Perhaps Obama can explain to the pope on Friday why the Holy Father is wrong. The pope’s rejoinder no doubt would be priceless, and may even be a wake-up call.