To put taxpayer dollars behind the destruction of nascent human lives in research is monstrous. But Congress has long backed this policy, Barack Obama campaigned on it, and so it was only a matter of time before this evil day came. The decisions not to place any ethical limits on this subsidy and to rescind Bush’s executive order encouraging ethical stem-cell research were, however, wholly gratuitous. President Obama did not have to do either thing out of political necessity. Evidently he just wanted to go as far down this road as he can.
The likely next step is taxpayer support for research involving both the creation and the destruction of embryonic human lives. The polls on that question have generally shown public opposition, which is why the public campaign for stem-cell research has instead centered on the “leftover” embryos at fertility clinics. Obama seems to want to let the bureaucracy give the green light to subsidized cloning. I hope that science continues to develop in ways that make research involving killing less attractive.