President Obama continued to overturn hallmarks of the Bush administration's health policies today by lifting an eight-year-old ban on federal funding for stem cell research. Under the ban, government money could only be allocated for research on a pre-approved list of already existing stem cell lines, not new stem cells, a position endorsed by many social conservatives who see the use of new stem cells as part of the right-to-life movement.
"In recent years when it comes to stem cell research, rather than
furthering discovery, our government has forced what I believe is a
false choice between sound science and moral values," Obama said at a press conference explaining his decision.
By lifting the ban Obama opens the door for any new stem cell research
to receive federal funding. He also promised strict regulation and
oversight of any new research that receives government support.
Advocates for stem cell research like actor Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, a disease he believes stem cell research can help cure, praised the decision, saying he was "thrilled to see President Obama has honored his commitment to get politics out of science."
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On the other side of the debate, House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said that while he supports some stem cell research, Obama's decision to expand funding is "forcing taxpayers to fund ethically troublesome -- and unproven -- research that
Read the Opposing Views debate, "When Does Life Begin?"
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