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March 31, 2009

On March 9th, President Obama followed through on a campaign promise and issued an executive order. His signature overturned the ban, established in August, 2001, on government funding of embryo-destructive research. His speech at the signing ceremony was remarkable, not for his action (which was expected), but for what he didn’t say. Here’s an excerpt:

Today, with the Executive Order I am about to sign, we will bring the change that so many scientists and researchers; doctors and innovators; patients and loved ones have hoped for, and fought for, these past eight years: we will lift the ban on federal funding for promising embryonic stem cell research.

This speech was all about vague promises of medical cures that will come about with the help of stem cells. So what are stem cells? The president doesn’t tell us. Where do these cells come from? The president doesn’t tell us. How are stem cells obtained? The president doesn’t tell us.

There’s an elephant in the room, and the the president is ignoring it. He never talks about the entity that must be destroyed to produce stem cells. These are embryonic stem cells, which means they must come from the destruction of embryos. What are embryos? The earliest stage of human life.

Honest people may differ on the moral issues involved in embryo-destructive research, but to have a meaningful conversation they must understand the issues at stake. Unfortunately, on March 9th, President Barack Obama didn’t tell the American people what he was really talking about.

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