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White House Falsely Claims New Stem Cell Study ‘Has Not Been Reviewed By Scientists and Bio-Ethicists Yet’

By Judd Legum  

"White House Falsely Claims New Stem Cell Study ‘Has Not Been Reviewed By Scientists and Bio-Ethicists Yet’"

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Today, a new study was published that shows embryonic stem cells lines can be created without the destruction of human embryos. Previously, the White House has said they oppose the creation of new stem cell lines because it involved the destruction of embryos.

In today’s New York Times, White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore said “Any use of human embryos for research purposes raises serious ethical questions. This technique does not resolve those concerns.” This afternoon, the White House changed their story. Here’s Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino:

QUESTION: Any decision to perhaps revisit the President’s position on federal funding for stem cell research, in light of this new development that was published yesterday in the journal Nature?

PERINO: …This study today reported in Nature Magazine has not been reviewed by scientists and bio-ethicists yet, but it is one that the President believes deserves a good look. He is encouraged that there are scientists who are continuing to look for innovative ways to do stem cell research that would not involve the destruction of embryos. And so he is going to listen to folks after they have a chance to review the study, but it does hold some promise that they would be able to do that type of research without destruction of a human embryo.

This is false. ThinkProgress spoke with bioethicist Ronald Green, who is an ethics advisor to Robert Lanza, an author of the study. Green said that in order to be published in Nature, the paper went through a rigourous peer review process, which lasted nearly three months.

The study was also reviewed by bioethicts. It was reviewed and approved by the Ethics Advisory Board of Advanced Cell Technology. Also an independent review board was constituted to scrutinize the study, as required by Massachusetts law.

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