I don’t think President Obama is that stupid. He says what he means, even when it comes off sounding insensitive. So, when he came out in a ceremony to announce that he was reversing policy by former President Bush to lift restrictions on embryonic stem cell research and said he strongly opposed reproductive cloning, I think he meant it.
I think he meant what he said because, narrowly defined, this would mean that he opposes the creation of embryonic stem cells for the purpose of implanting them in a womb for the birth of a cloned human. What he didn’t say, however, was he opposed therapeutic cloning of embryonic stem cells — human beings — for the purpose of destroying them later for research reasons. Is that a stretch? Consider this: When he was a senator from Illinois, he signed on in support of a bill to ban human reproductive cloning but would have allowed for therapeutic cloning.
Conservative Catholic scholars Robert George and Douglas Kmiec recently debated Obama’s executive order and their exchange was published in U.S. News and World Report online. Kmiec, although conservative, is an enthusiastic Obama supporter and argued from the position that Obama’s position is not as harsh as it sounds. George argues as I have above only much more thoroughly. The exchange is enlightening in that George shows how conservatives like Kmiec have overlooked much in their rush to support Obama.