The Associated Press: Your one-way news service

The Associated Press reported Friday that President Obama is expected to sign on Monday an executive order reversing restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

After reading this article, you may wonder what’s missing. The answer: Any kind of reaction from those opposing reversing restrictions. Instead, we are given the views of an anonymous senior administration official (the quote fragment “scientific integrity” which gives you an idea of how this administration totally misunderstands the issue), a stem cell researcher who favors embryonic stem cell research, Obama himself (from his views on the campaign trail when he announced his opposition) and a spokesman for a group that advocates embryonic stem cell research.

What can be said that might give pause for reversing the policy? Two paragraphs give the entire argument against it:

Such research is controversial because embryos must be destroyed to obtain the cells; they typically are culled from fertility-clinic leftovers otherwise destined to be thrown away. Once a group of stem cells is culled, it can be kept alive and propagating in lab dishes for years.

There are different types of stem cells, and critics say the nation should pursue alternatives to embryonic ones such as adult stem cells, or those found floating in amniotic fluid or the placenta. But leading researchers consider embryonic stem cells the most flexible, and thus most promising, form – and say that science, not politics, should ultimately judge.

This is followed by a comment by an embryonic stem cell research advocate saying that “science works best and patients are served best by having all the tools at our disposal.”

And I’m sure Josef Mengele would agree.

It’s disappointing that it took two writers, Ben Feller and Lauran Neergaard, to write an article that is basically propaganda for the embryonic stem cell research position. It’s not like there are no scientists to be found on the other side, but Feller and Neergaard didn’t make the effort to talk to them. Here would have been a good start, at least as far as better framing the argument from the other side. Instead, we get cheerleading from the AP.

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