On Monday, President Obama signed an executive order reversing the Bush administration’s ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
Scientists have hailed the reversal as the dawn of new hope for those suffering from currently incurable diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease or spinal cord injuries.
Others, however, have called the move a triumph of politics over science and ethics.
Prior to the signing, Obama talked about the promise such research offers doctors, patients and their families. To allay the fears of his critics, he also underscored the strict ethical guidelines the administration would enforce which will prevent any abuses of the science such as human cloning.
Obama also stressed the promise of new medical technologies as an engine of economic growth.
However, not everyone was convinced. Many Republicans, conservative organizations and church representatives expressed their dismay with the policy reversal.
House Minority Leader John Boehner (Republican – Ohio) said in advance of the signing that focus should be on developing promising stem cell techniques that do not destroy human embryos.
Meanwhile, Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council called the new executive order "deadly."
The new directive supersedes the one signed in 2001 by President George W. Bush that prevented the National Institutes of Health from funding research on embryonic stem cells beyond the 60 cell lines that existed at the time.