Obama set to lift restrictions on funding of stem cell research

March 7th, 2009 - 1:40 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama

Washington, Mar 7 (ANI): President Barack Obama will sign an executive order on March 9 lifting the Bush Administrations restrictions on funding of embryonic stem cell research.

The long-awaited move is certain to draw criticism from anti-abortion and religious groups that question the science and ethics behind the research.

Obama was a frequent critic of former President George W. Bushs 2001 executive order, which said federal dollars could be spent for research only on stem cell lines created before Aug. 9, 2001.

Obamas move is expected to lift that restriction on federal funding of the research, Politico.com reported.

The research is controversial because the stem cells are harvested from embryos that must be destroyed in the process.

But supporters of stem-cell research say the cells hold the promise of cures for Parkinsons disease, spinal injuries and other afflictions. Thats because embryonic stem cells can transform into any cell in the body, making them a potentially powerful tool in the hands of scientists.

Shortly before the inauguration, Obama hinted that he might not sign an executive order to reverse Bushs move, saying he was interested in trying to get the change made through a bipartisan effort in Congress.

The announcement on Monday means he will simply supplant Bushs executive order with his own, a move that will please many of Obamas supporters who were pushing him to make the change.

I feel vindicated after eight years of struggle, and I know its going to energize my research team, said Dr. George Daley of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and Childrens Hospital of Boston. (ANI)

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