The appetite from some sectors of the biotechnology community for funding and ethical license, is never satiated. Only days after President Obama euthanized President Bush’s ESCR policy–and in the wake of the New York Times calling for revocation of the Dickey Amendment that prohibits the Feds from paying for the creation and destruction of embryos in research–the prestigious science journal Nature has added to the political pressure. From its editorial:
When US President Barack Obama lifted the funding ban for research on human embryonic stem cells earlier this month, he did not mention the Dickey-Wicker amendment–legislation that forbids the use of federal funds for research that destroys or creates embryos. It was a missed opportunity to begin a necessary conversation.
There was no ban, but never mind. The point is that Nature wants to destroy Dickey:
In force since 1996, the Dickey-Wicker amendment badly needs updating to fit the current research reality, if not outright repeal…Both the Dickey–Wicker amendment and the new guidelines on human embryonic stem-cell research being drawn up by the National Institutes of Health merit an intense national conversation. In particular, that dialogue should thoroughly explore attitudes towards studying different types of embryos–not just those left over from fertility procedures, but also those that might be specially created for research.
See, the assurances–oft stated–that all “the scientists” want are “leftover” embryos that were “going to be destroyed anyway” was always hogwash, part of a sophisticated propaganda campaign intended to unfetter biotech from any meaningful limitations on the instrumental use of nascent human life. Yet, despite these editorials, the “leftovers” meme will continue to drive most media reports.
Nature also wants to continue the word engineering project we have discussed here over the last several years:
A key requirement for productive dialogue is a common frame of reference. Here, the [me: scientifically accurate] word ’embryo’ is a stumbling block. This term refers to everything from a newly fertilized single-celled egg to millions of cells organized into eyelids, ears, genitals and limbs. Yet the latter form, which is present some eight weeks after fertilization, is not only ethically unacceptable for research but also far too old to yield embryonic stem cells.
Why is it ethically unacceptable? Nature doesn’t say. And why should anyone believe that embryonic stem cells are “all” that “the scientists” are interested in? I mean, why would anyone believe this platitudinous assurance, when the “leftovers only” promise proved so patently false?
Indeed, some studies indicate that germ stem cells, that develop at about 6 weeks, might be better than embryonic stem cells. We have already seen calls for using fetuses as sources of organs and fetal farming, which would be even more pronounced if cloning were added to the mix to do away with the immune rejection issue. Beyond that, imagine the potential for testing drugs in fetuses,particularly fetuses genetically engineered to have certain medical maladies. Anyone who thinks that embryonic stem cells are the ultimate goal of all of this just hasn’t been paying attention.
Here’s the bottom line: Now that Big Biotech and its supporters in Big Science and the MSM believe they are in the driver’s seat with regard to ESCR, they are intent on pushing the boundaries to the next of many stages–federal funding for the creation and destruction of custom made embryos, including via cloning. But of course, that was the plan all along.