Expanding the Federal Funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

On March 9, President Barack Obama announced and signed an order to overturn President Bush’s limits on the funding of embryonic stem cell lines. President Bush had previously limited federal spending on embryonic stem cell research to embryonic stem cell lines created before August of 2001. In his orders, President Obama will give the National Institutes of Health time to develop guidelines to decide which kinds of research they will fund and what restrictions there will be. It is likely that, at bare minimum, the NIH will fund research on embryonic stem cell lines created from human embryos who were originally created for in-vitro fertilization. Some scientists desire that embryonic stem cell lines created from human embryos who were created for research also receive funding.

During his announcement, President Obama took no position on the Dickey Amendment. This amendment has prevented federal funds from going toward research into the creation of human embryos and the killing of human embryos since 1996. Some members of Congress have talked openly about attempting to repeal this amendment by removing it from appropriations bills.

President Obama also said that “human cloning for reproduction” is “dangerous, profoundly wrong and has no place in our society, or any society.” What President Obama didn’t mention was that he signed on as a co-sponsor to S.B. 1520, the euphemistically entitled “Human Cloning Ban Act of 2005” which would have kept human cloning legal and only banned the implantation of human clones by deceptively defining “human cloning” as “implanting or attempting to implant the product of nuclear transplantation into a uterus or the functional equivalent of a uterus.” Products of nuclear transplantation is a scientific term for clones.

ACTION ITEM #1

To send comments to President Obama, please use the form at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

Call the comments line: 202-456-1111

Or, write to:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Junking Conscience Protections

On March 6, President Obama’s administration moved to completely rescind a rule entitled, “Ensuring That Department of Health and Human Services Funds Do Not Support Coercive or Discriminatory Policies or Practices in Violation of Federal Law.” This rule was designed at the end of the Bush administration to protect the consciences of physicians and health care workers.The rule was put in place after prolife health care workers raised concerns about their conscience protections. The ethics committee of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists had issued a paper in which they called on doctors who are opposed to abortion to refer women to abortion providers, claiming that conscience protections shouldn’t prevent prolife physicians from referring women to abortion providers.

Federal law has prevented discrimination against health care personnel who refuse to perform or assist in abortions but the Bush administration policy required institutions which receive federal money to certify their compliance with the laws protecting the conscience rights of health care personnel and was intended to prevent federal funds from going to hospitals and other institutions who ignore those rights.

ACTION ITEM #2

After the publication of the rule change, the Federal Register allows 30 days for citizens to comment on the proposal before making a formal decision. The proposal to rescind the rule is available online at http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocumentDetail&o=090000648090229f

Comments may be submitted either electronically or by regular mail:

1. Electronically. You may submit electronic comments via email to proposedrescission@hhs.gov

or by visiting the link above and clicking the add comments button.

2. By regular mail. You may mail written comments (one original and two copies) to the following address only: Office of Public Health and Science, Department of Health and Human Services, Attention: Rescission Proposal Comments, Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Room 716G, Washington, DC 20201

To learn more about President Obama’s assaults on human life, visit Right to Life of Michigan at www.rtl.org and check out the Prolife Action Center.