News stories today report that biologists have “developed a technique for establishing colonies of human embryonic stem cells from an early human embryo without destroying it.”
The Bush administration has repeatedly stated that it opposes expanded embryonic stem cell research because it would involve destroying human embryos. On July 18, when asked why President Bush opposed a stem cell bill, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow replied, “The simple answer is he thinks murder is wrong.” The next day, Bush vetoed HR 810:
Some people argue that finding new cures for disease requires the destruction of human embryos like the ones that these families adopted. I disagree. I believe that with the right techniques and the right policies, we can achieve scientific progress while living up to our ethical responsibilities.
Even though today’s news shows that embryonic stem cell research can be done without destroying human embryos, the administration still opposes it:
But Emily Lawrimore, a White House spokeswoman, suggested that the new procedure would not satisfy the objections of Mr. Bush. … Though Ms. Lawrimore called it encouraging that scientists were moving away from destroying embryos, she said: “Any use of human embryos for research purposes raises serious ethical questions. This technique does not resolve those concerns.”
This new excuse is hopelessly vague. Lawrimore provided no elaboration on what those “ethical questions” and “concerns” exactly were. As Dr. Robert Lanza, who led the breakthrough project, stated, “There is no rational reason left to oppose this research.”