So in the earlier thread on Obama’s stem cell order today, “Reaganite” took me to task for wondering about the possible paths Obama would choose:

“Please don’t pretend to us that there is any doubt or suspense in your mind on this. David, the readers of your blog are not as dumb as you think.”

Well, maybe the blogger isn’t that dumb either. At least not this time. It turns out Obama punted on the issue of federal financing for research on embryos (NYT story here, WaPo here) and will leave that decision up to Congress. He could not have single-handedly overturned the the Dickey-Wicker amendment, which bars the use of federal funds to conduct research on embryos directly. But he’s also not going to push for that change.

He also said human cloning is “dangerous, profoundly wrong and has no place in our society, or any society.”

Instead, his executive order on stem cells will allow for research on pre-existing embryos with guidelines to be worked out for approval by donors.

Chris Cillizza at the WaPo blogs on the politics and punditry–very good on the issue.

Is it all worth it? Ethical minefield, dodgy prospects for good outcomes, and all that money when children are dying from easily treatable diseases and afflications. I’d prefer Tom Reese’s three-point plan. But Obama split the baby, in a sense, which was not expected. Is this Solomonic? Well, Solomon’s goal, which he achieved, was to have the baby remain whole. Only the mother had to be able to give it up for adoption. The Vatican so far won’t green light embryo pre-adoption, so those embryos will perish in a few years anyway. Seems like no way out.


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