Obama Overturns Bush Stem Cell Policy

Obama Overturns Bush Stem Cell Policy

For Immediate Release

Contact: Gillian Madill, 510-306-6562 Nick Berning, 202-222-0748

Balance of promoting science and comprehensive regulation is crucial

WASHINGTON, D.C.Today, President Obama announced that he will overturn the previous presidents ban on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research.

President Bush restricted federal funding for embryonic stem cell research on August 9, 2001 to 21 existing embryonic stem cell lines, in order to prevent federal funds from being used to destroy human embryos. The restriction frustrated scientists who believe that studying embryonic stem cells may lead to new treatments for serious diseases.

Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder had the following response:

While todays announcement is a step in the right direction, it is imperative for President Obama to pair this action with comprehensive oversight of stem cell research. He must also prohibit human cloning and human genetic engineering, and end the governments practice of issuing patents for human genes.

President Bushs policy was in many ways anti-science, but it also protected us from having to regulate human embryos, and allowed us to avoid ethical issues related to human cloning. The world will now look to President Obama to cautiously lead the way so scientific progress can be achieved within the context of ethical boundaries. Good research requires proper oversight. We urge President Obama to ensure that comprehensive and effective oversight mechanisms are in place before opening the funding floodgates for stem cell research. We have already seen the consequences of self-regulation, which allowed the housing and financial markets to spark the current economic crisis, and we must not make the same mistakes in the scientific arena.

Friends of the Earth advocates for comprehensive regulation of all genetic technologies, including human genetic engineering and cloning.


Friends of the Earth (www.foe.org) is the U.S. voice of the worlds largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.