Health Care

NIH Stem Cell Guidelines Reflect Poor Science

| by FRC

WASHINGTON --- Today, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins responded to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued draft guidance for implementing President Obama's executive order to fund embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). President Obama's decision and these guidelines will remove key limits on federal funding of ESCR. Following is Perkins' statement:

"The research that President Obama supports is not sound science and will destroy human life. And now the NIH draft guidelines demanded by the President will do nothing to advance stem cell research that is showing near-term benefit for suffering patients. Instead, the guidelines implement a plan that will force taxpayers to foot the bill for research that involves human embryo destruction.

"The NIH guidelines will create an incentive to cannibalize the so-called 'leftover embryos,' though they will not fund research on stem cells derived from cloning, parthenogenesis and human-animal hybrids. However, NIH clearly believes the President's executive order allows them to fund such unethical research at any point in the future. The guidelines purport to have tight informed consent requirements, but they don't even require IVF doctors and the stem cell researchers to work separately, thereby opening a gaping loophole for the researchers to increase embryo production for their research.

"Instead of funding more embryo destructive research, the government should fund research using adult stem cells that are on the cutting edge of treating patients for diabetes, spinal cord injury, heart disease, and various cancers. Unfortunately, this draft guidance only diverts limited federal resources to unethical stem cell research that has not successfully treated a single person for any disease.

"Taxpayer funding should instead focus on common ground stem cell research and support legislation like the Patient's First Act sponsored by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) and Rep. Dan Lipinksi (D-IL). Congress also needs to renew the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, which would forbid taxpayer funding of the creation of human embryos solely for their destruction.

"There is great potential in this country for research and procedures that will cure many diseases and allow us to maintain our ethical standards. I urge Members of Congress to support Dickey-Wicker and focus funding on the proven science of adult stem cells."