Ten members of the President’s Council on Bioethics published a statement today at the Hastings Center Bioethics Forum expressing disappointment with President Obama’s remarks and policies on the funding of embryonic stem cell research. They take the president to task for mischaracterizing the nature of his predecessor’s policy, they highlight the emergence of alternative sources of pluripotent stem cells, and they criticize Obama for leaving open the door to human cloning even as he claims to close it.
The Council’s chairman, Edmund Pellegrino, supports their objections in a short individual statement.
The bioethics council was created by President Bush in 2001, and its charter expires in September of this year, so for the time being its work continues (its predecessor, created in the Clinton administration, also continued to work several months into the Bush administration). It has 18 members, and has from the start (and by design) been divided on the question of embryo research.
What’s notable about this statement, though, is that rather than just express disagreement with the ethical views underlying Obama’s position on embryonic stem cell research, it criticizes Obama for mischaracterizing the plain facts of the matter, which unfortunately has been his consistent practice on this subject. On that front, too, last night offered a model of persistence.