The Corner

The Stem Cell Policy

Even for those of us who expected the worst from the Obama stem cell policy, the actual text of his Executive Order is a bit of a shock. It describes no particular ethical restraints whatsoever—not against funding the use of embryos created for research, or cloned embryos, or anything else. And it offers not even a mention of an ethical debate. The only case for the policy it makes is that “advances over the past decade in this promising scientific field have been encouraging, leading to broad agreement in the scientific community that the research should be supported by Federal funds.” Agreement in the scientific community seems to be all that matters in making federal funding policy. And it then leaves it up to NIH to make all the rules. It’s all science and no ethics, and doesn’t even bother to pretend otherwise.

Yuval Levin is the director of social, cultural, and constitutional studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the editor of National Affairs.