A debate on what Obama really said: When killing is OK

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.

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3 thoughts on “A debate on what Obama really said: When killing is OK

  1. One should also remember that Obama, just two days later, signed the Omnibus Bill which included a ban on any federal funding for embryonic stem cell research that resulted in the endangerment or destruction of said embryos.

    SEC. 509. (a) None of the funds made available in this Act may be used for—

    (1) the creation of a human embryo or embryos for research purposes; or
    (2) research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death greater than that allowed for research on fetuses in utero under 45 CFR 46.204(b) and section 498(b) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 289g(b)).

    SEC. 509. (b) For purposes of this section, the term “human embryo or embryos” includes any organism, not protected as a human subject under 45 CFR 46 as of the date of the enactment of this Act, that is derived by fertilization, parthenogenesis, cloning, or any other means from one or more human gametes or human diploid cells.

    – Section 509, Page 280
    H.R. 1105: Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009

  2. This perhaps would seem like an about face from his earlier legislative efforts and statements. But I would be curious about the phrase “as of the date of the enactment of this Act” and how it applies to future policy to be enacted by science boards on embryonic stem cell research.

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