The Corner

Forgetting Stem-Cell History

The New York Times reports: “In 2001, President George W. Bush prohibited the creation of new embryonic stem cell lines.” False. He didn’t have the legal authority to do that, and Congress wasn’t about to give it to him. Bush did, however, have the power to keep federal funding from encouraging the destruction of human embryos for the purpose of stem-cell research, and that is what he did. The private sector remained free to finance research on new lines. Democrats spent the rest of his time in office claiming he had imposed a “ban” on embryonic stem-cell research, and apparently that message is still influencing coverage.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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