“WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama will soon issue an executive order lifting an eight-year ban embryonic stem cell research imposed by his predecessor, President George W. Bush, a senior adviser said on Sunday.”
If there’s one thing guaranteed to spur this normally quite reserved and reticent (no, really, I am) gentleman into voicing his opinion, it’s an assault on science and reason — especially one, as my regular readers will know, that comes from a nonscientific background. The Bush administration, for this and many other reasons, was therefore of great concern to me, and the consequences of what may have happened had Obama not won the presidency simply didn’t bear thinking about.
So when Obama promised during his campaign and his inaugural speech to reverse Bush’s ban on embryonic stem cell research I was, naturally, over the moon. Yes, I was a little sceptical. Obama has a great deal to live up to — too much, I think — and there was a niggling doubt at the back of my mind over whether he would actually fulfil this particular promise. I am, however, happy to now say that it looks as though my scepticism (“caution” might be a better word) was unwarranted.
There are people out there who will argue that embryonic stem cell research is immoral/unethical, and even some who will argue that it is a futile or unnecessary line of research. I would disagree with both of these positions. We have a duty and responsibility to at least try to explore all treatment possibilities and, until the alternatives are perfected, this for me is a significant step in the right direction.
The possible scientific/medical benefits apart, it strikes me as hugely symbolic. Obama is clearly sending out a very strong message. A message I for one appreciate.