President Obama signed an executive order today on stem cell research; it was part of his “Scientific Integrity Presidential Memorandum.” In response, Catholic League president Bill Donohue said the following:

“President Obama acknowledged that he supports ‘groundbreaking work to convert ordinary human cells into ones that resemble embryonic stem cells.’ So do we. What he doesn’t seem to realize is that the enormous progress that has already been made in this area largely undercuts his decision to fund embryonic stem cell research. After all, if the same, or similar, results can be obtained without endangering embryos, on what basis can their destruction be warranted?

“Obama seems to know that he is in dangerous territory, but fails to say why. For example, he insists that embryonic stem cell research demands ‘proper guidelines and strict oversight’ so that ‘the perils can be avoided.’ What perils is he talking about? If the killing of nascent human life isn’t an issue—which he apparently thinks it isn’t—then what are the perils associated with this research? It is starkly remindful of the position of pro-abortion advocates: they always say we should have fewer abortions, but never say why.

“Obama’s adamant rejection of human cloning is welcome. However, it is not enough to say that it would be a ‘dangerous, profoundly wrong’ thing to do. We need to know why. For example, what principle is operative? Science teaches, and the Catholic Church accepts, that human life begins at fertilization. That being the case, the Church reasons, we are morally compelled not to treat human life—beginning at conception and lasting until natural death—as if it were mere fodder for research. Obama, and others, are free to disagree, but they are morally obligated to state the principle upon which they draw their conclusions. He most certainly has not.

“In short, not only are Obama’s executive order and scientific memo mostly troubling, we still don’t know why he believes what he believes.”

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