Activists on both sides were disappointed when the Obama administration revealed its policy on embryonic stem cell research last month. The guidelines issued by the National Institutes of Health are “not bold enough,” in the view of the New York Times. But to the Family Research Council actions permitted under the guidelines will “destroy human life.”
The new rules expand government funding for research on so-called spare embryos left over from in-vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics—embryos created for reproductive purposes but now slated to be destroyed. Whereas President Bush allowed government-funded research only on stem cell lines established before August 9, 2001, Obama discards that arbitrary cutoff date and opens up the use of thousands of new embryos for research. But the new rules maintain the Bush administration’s policy of denying funding for research that uses human embryos created for purposes of research.