Barack Obama has overturned restrictions on government funding for stem cell research.
The US President’s predecessor George W. Bush blocked the use of taxpayers’ money for the science on ethical grounds at the start of his first term in office. Before signing an executive order Obama told a White House gathering: “We will bring the change that so many scientists, researchers, doctors and innovators, patients and loved ones have hoped for and fought for these past eight years. We will lift the ban on federal funding for promising embryonic stem cell research. “Many thoughtful and decent people are conflicted about or strongly oppose this research and I understand their concerns and I believe we must respect their point of view. But after much discussion, debate and reflection, the proper course has become clear. “The majority of Americans from across the political spectrum and from all backgrounds and beliefs have come to a consensus: that we should pursue this research and that the potential it offers is great and with proper guidelines and strict oversight the perils can be avoided.” While the scientific community welcomed the decision, it drew criticism from the religious conservative right in the United States.