Obama, McCain and the Bush Legacy Part 3
Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics

Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
November 6, 2008

Last Updated :
November 6, 2008


Bush's Record On Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Controversy,
Bush vs Embryonic Stem Cell Research And A Divided Congress,
Some Conservative Republicans Who Are Not So Conservative,
Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis, Dr. Yamanaka's Discovery,
Therapeutic Cloning, Nuclear Transfer, De-differentiation,
Professor Ian Wilmut Changes Course, Stemagen Controversy,
Exaggerated Promises Behind Embryonic Stem Cell Research, No
Cures Or Treatments In Twenty Years, Adult Stem Cell Success




As we saw with abortion and the gay and lesbian agenda, the
truth regarding what has happened with embryonic stem cell
research during the two terms of the Bush Administration is
actually quite different from what you may think. According
to information which I have read, at the time that Mr. Bush
reached his controversial compromise, some of the available
stem cell lines were already becoming unviable. Stated in
another way, scientists could no longer use them for stem
cell research, and new stem cell lines had to be developed.

From the start, there was a conflict regarding what had been
stated by the Bush Administration. For example, in September
2001, in a New York Times article, Tommy G. Thompson, who at
the time was the Secretary of Health and Human Services, was
quoted as saying, "They're diverse, they're robust, they're
viable for research". Yet in that very same article, critics
of the Bush compromise shot back with the following:

----- Begin Quote -----

"But that assertion is being questioned now that more has
become known. National Institutes of Health officials, who
are preparing a registry that will list the 64 lines and
their biological characteristics, now acknowledge that some
are in the very early stages of development, and may not
prove useful even for basic science. Scientists have used
mouse cells to feed the growth of the human stem cells,
which is a standard laboratory technique but raises concerns
about whether the cells will be suitable for transplanting
into people. And because the cell lines are in private
hands, intellectual property issues must be resolved before
government-financed scientists can work with them."

----- End Quote -----

A month later, an Associated Press news article repeated the
claims made by President Bush's critics, with this paragraph:

----- Begin Quote -----

"After weeks of deliberation, Bush announced in August that
he would permit research only on stem cell lines that he
said already existed. Critics said they believed Bush
overstated the number of lines, or cell colonies, and said
many of them would prove unsuitable for use by scientists."

----- End Quote -----

As I stated a moment ago, while some of you may be under the
impression that George W. Bush fulfilled his pledge to those
who voted for him, (such as America's Christian Right), and
put a stop to embryonic stem cell research, this is certainly
not true. No sooner had Bush announced his decision regarding
embryonic stem cell research on American national television,
and signed his executive order, that the pro embryonic stem
cell research proponents in Congress, such as Senators Arlen
Specter, Orrin G. Hatch, Edward M. Kennedy, John Kerry, Bill
Frist, Tom Harkin, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Lamar Alexander
began to discuss ways to expand on President Bush's executive
order, and to try to find legal loopholes around it. And so,
in an October 2001 article in the New York Times, we find
these opening paragraphs which reveal their strategy:

----- Begin Quote -----

The White House is expressing initial opposition to Senate
legislation that would explicitly allow limited, federally
financed stem cell research for the first time.

The Senate Appropriations Committee planned to vote Thursday
on a routine spending bill that includes the provision. A
subcommittee of that panel approved the overall measure
Wednesday.

The language, written by Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., would
let President Bush follow through on his proposal to
restrict the research to the 64 stem cell lines that he said
already exist.

It also would permit him to go further, as long as the
embryos used for the research otherwise would be destroyed
and permission for their use had been granted by the people
whose fertility treatments created them.

----- End Quote -----

In short, they were trying to nudge Bush even further in his
position, so that he would be willing to open the door for
federally financed embryonic stem cell research just a little
more. Let's jump forward now three years to May of 2004. As
you will see, the attempt by George W. Bush to limit US stem
cell research to the sixty-four known stem cell lines which
were available around the world at that time was an exercise
in futility. A CNN news article, dated May the 19th, 2004,
opens with these paragraphs:

----- Begin Quote -----

The world's first embryonic stem cell bank opened in Britain
on Wednesday, breaking new ground in one of the most
controversial areas of medical research.

The bank aims to store and supply stem cell lines -- strings
of identical cells -- for research and possible treatment of
conditions like diabetes, cancer and Parkinson's. Its store
of cell lines is expected to number tens of thousands.

But opponents say such research involves the "wanton
creation and destruction of human life'' and have condemned
the bank as a storage site for dead babies.

----- End Quote -----

In April and June of that same year, 2004, certain members
of the US Congress again tried to bend President Bush's arm,
as can be seen by this news clip from the Associated Press.
Notice again that Bush's critics are using the very same
tactic as in earlier years, and are claiming that the stem
cell lines that Bush made available to American researchers
in his August 2001 executive order, were unviable:

----- Begin Quote -----

Fifty-eight senators are asking President Bush to relax
federal restrictions on stem cell research, and several said
Monday that the late President Reagan's Alzheimer's disease
underscored a need to expand the research using human
embryos.

The senators' letter to Bush was sent Friday, before Reagan
died after a long struggle with Alzheimer's.

Bush signed an executive order in August 2001 limiting
federal research funding for stem cell research to 78
embryonic stem cell lines then in existence.

But the letter complains that only 19 of those lines are now
available to researchers and those available are
contaminated with mouse feeder cells which makes their use
for humans uncertain.

----- End Quote -----

Up until that point, President Bush appeared to be holding
his ground, and the same article from the Associated Press
stated in part:

----- Begin Quote -----

"The president remains committed to exploring the promise of
stem cell research but at the same time continues to believe
strongly that we should not cross a fundamental moral line
by funding or encouraging the destruction of human embryos,"
Lisaius said.

"The president does not believe that life should be created
for the sole purpose of destroying it. He does believe we
can explore the promise and potential of stem cell research
using the existing lines of stem cells."

----- End Quote -----

The very next month, in July 2004, in their efforts to keep
up the pressure on President Bush, Senator Orrin G. Hatch,
who as I noted earlier is a supporter of embryonic stem cell
research, made the claim that the Senate had the necessary
votes to end the filibuster surrounding embryonic stem cell
research. An Associated Press news article stated in part:

----- Begin Quote -----

"Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Republican supporter of embryonic stem
cell research, said Sunday there is wide support in the
Senate to ease the Bush administration's restrictive policy."

"Hatch said supporters have more than the 60 votes needed to
end a filibuster, but he's unsure whether Congress would act
'in this hot political atmosphere'."

----- End Quote -----

So as we have now seen, the minute that George W. Bush signed
the executive order which put a stop to federal financing for
embryonic stem cell research, some members of the US Congress
began looking for ways to weaken, and to eventually nullify,
the president's order. The next year, in 2005, the House of
Representatives tried to pass a veto-proof bill which would
expand federal funding for embryonic stem cell research; but
they were unable to muster the required number of votes, and
the bill passed by a vote of 238 to 194. Demonstrating their
strong opposition to Mr. Bush's position on the issue, fifty
Republicans supported the bill. But a year later, in July of
2006, the results were a little different. As was reported by
the Associated Press and other news services, the U.S. Senate
unanimously approved a bill to expand federal funding for
embryonic stem cell research, while the same bill floundered
in the House of Representatives by a vote of 273-154. An AP
news article begins with these opening paragraphs:

----- Begin Quote -----

The Senate voted Tuesday after two days of emotional debate
to expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research,
sending the measure to President Bush for a promised veto
that would be the first of his presidency.

The bill passed 63-37, four votes short of the two-thirds
majority that would be needed to override Bush's veto. The
president left little doubt he would reject the bill despite
late appeals on its behalf from fellow Republicans Nancy
Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"The simple answer is he thinks murder's wrong," said White
House spokesman Tony Snow. "The president is not going to
get on the slippery slope of taking something living and
making it dead for the purposes of scientific research."

----- End Quote -----

As was expected, the very next day, President Bush vetoed the
bill, and House Majority Leader, John Boehner, noted that the
House of Representatives would reinforce the vetoed bill when
it was returned to them. In his remarks concerning the veto,
President Bush stated in part:

----- Begin Quote -----

"This bill would support the taking of innocent human life
in the hope of finding medical benefits for others."

"Each of these children was still adopted while still an
embryo and has been blessed with a chance to grow, to grow
up in a loving family. These boys and girls are not spare
parts."

"They remind us of what is lost when embryos are destroyed
in the name of research. They remind us that we all begin
our lives as a small collection of cells. And they remind us
that in our zeal for new treatments and cures, America must
never abandon our fundamental morals."

"As science brings us every closer to unlocking the secrets
of human biology, it also offers temptations to manipulate
human life and violate human dignity. Our conscience in
history as a nation demand that we resist this temptation."

"America was founded on the principle that we are all
created equal and endowed by our creator with the right to
life . . . We can advance the cause of science while
upholding this founding promise. We can harness the promise
of technology without becoming slaves to technology. And we
can ensure that science serves the cause of humanity,
instead of the other way around."

"Once [the line is] crossed, we would find it impossible to
turn back."

----- End Quote -----

Of course, as in previous cases, certain Congressmen made
clear their intention to continue the fight, until federal
funding restrictions were removed from embryonic stem cell
research endeavors. In particular, Senator Orrin Hatch said
that the president's veto "sets back embryonic stem cell
research another year or so"; and Bill Frisk, the Senate
Majority Leader, also stated:

----- Begin Quote -----

"I am pro-life, but I disagree with the president's decision
to veto the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act . . . Given
the potential of this research and the limitations of the
existing lines eligible for federally funded research, I
think additional lines should be made available."

----- End Quote -----

The Bush Administration did suffer one defeat at that time,
when another bill they tried to push through Congress, which
would have encouraged stem cell research from sources other
than embryos, was defeated by the House of Representatives.
However, there was another success for President Bush. Both
the House of Representatives, and the US Senate unanimously
approved a bill to ban "fetal farming". This is the practice
of raising, and aborting, fetuses for scientific research,
such as are used with embryonic stem cell research. Bush, of
course, signed the bill into law.

What I personally find strange about these issues, is that
there are certain Republicans who one might think run with
the typical conservative herd, by the mere fact that they
are Republicans, (and indeed, they do paint themselves as
conservative before the public eye), but then you discover
that they aren't quite as conservative as you were led to
believe.

A case in point is California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
While Schwarzenegger is indeed a Republican, he not only
supported the bill to expand federal funding for embryonic
stem cell research, but he in fact wrote to Bush and asked
him not to veto Bill H.R. 810. Of course, with two liberal
Jewesses, as well as a liberal Roman Catholic in Congress,
not to mention Schwarzenegger's own career as an actor who
readily accepted a number of liberal acting roles, plus the
very liberal nature of Hollywood, (unholywood), and all of
the other liberal causes which come out of California, it
should really come as no surprise that Schwarzenegger would
adopt this position. In comparing current developments in
the New England states and California, one has to wonder if
they might not be having this private war to determine who
can be the most liberal.

Another example where we find a Republican who is apparently
not so conservative, is Nancy Reagan, the wife of former US
President, Ronald Reagan. She likewise has supported the
efforts to expand embryonic stem cell research in the United
States. While I can certainly understand how the former First
Lady has been affected by the plight, and death, of her late
husband, nevertheless, as President Bush stated, there are
certain moral bounds which we must never cross as Christians.

With this latest attack against his executive order, Mr. Bush
was once again forced to declare his position to the American
public. Thus, in addition to the previous comments, the White
House spokesman, Tony Snow, also stated "The president is not
opposed to stem cell research, he's all for it". Roy Blunt,
the House Majority Whip, clarified the President's statement
when he added "We must draw the ethical line at research that
destroys human life". In other words, George W. Bush supports
stem cell research, only when it does not involve the use of
live human embryos. As you will see shortly, there are other
less controversial methods now available, which avoid these
hotly-debated moral issues, and they don't rely upon using
human embryos at all.

About a month after President Bush vetoed the aforementioned
bill, the American press revealed that a new technique had
been developed, whereby stem cells could be harvested without
destroying the days-old embryo. Through a scientific process
referred to as "preimplantation genetic diagnosis", doctors
at Advanced Cell Technology, and elsewhere, can remove a cell
called a "blastomere"; that is, one of the eight cells from a
two-day-old embryo, in order to check it for possible genetic
defects. According to reports, this doesn't affect the health
of the remaining seven cells. However, as was duly noted by
the Bush Administration, and other critics of the technique,
the very fact that the process involves using human embryos,
still calls into question the morality of the practice. One
typical reaction came from Brian Hart, who is a spokesman for
Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas. He stated “You are creating
a twin and then killing that twin". Of course, the Liberal
Left was again quick to criticize the Bush Administration's
new objections. Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts
remarked:

----- Begin Quote -----

“It’s tragic that the current Republican Congress continues
to rubber stamp the restrictions that deny federal funding
for scientists engaged in medical research that could save
or improve countless lives."

----- End Quote -----

In June of 2007, the American mass media again revealed that
Japanese scientists had found a way to create embryonic stem
cells from the skin cells of mice. If it is true, and if it
is a viable process which can also be conducted with human
skin cells, this could possibly, and eventually, be a way to
circumvent the moral issues which are directly connected to
the practice of creating, and destroying, human embryos, in
order to harvest embryonic stem cells. Just using that word
"harvest" makes it sound so cold and calculating, but that
is exactly what it is. As I have noted before, it basically
amounts to destroying one life in order to attempt to save
another.

Prior to the above announcement, the only way that scientists
had found to convert adult cells into embryonic stem cells,
was by using a controversial procedure referred to in medical
circles as "therapeutic cloning". This procedure involves a
process known as "nuclear transfer", whereby scientists must
insert the nucleus of an adult cell into a female egg, whose
own nucleus has been removed. Through a process which is not
yet completely understood, the donor egg then reprograms the
nucleus back into an embryonic state. As good as it sounds,
to date, no one has yet succeeded in doing it. Furthermore,
the fact that it still involves the use of human eggs, makes
it a morally-questionable practice.

On the other hand, the new technique pioneered by Japanese
scientists, (and reportedly reproduced by an American team),
does not involve human eggs. Instead, they used a skin cell,
into which were inserted four genes. From tests conducted
thus far, it appears as if this new process offers the same
results as nuclear transfer; however, the real challenge is
to see if can be adapted to human skin cells, and not just
to mice cells. However, this new procedure is not completely
without its risks and challenges. For example, the mice had
to be interbred, (which obviously cannot be done with human
beings); the skin cells had to be infected with a virus; and
lastly, twenty per cent of the experimental mice died from
skin cancer. Again, this is a totally unacceptable risk for
human beings. In short, this technique is still rather far
from being doable, or even morally acceptable, to a lot of
people.

Not quite six months after the Japanese announced their new
discovery, Roger Highfield of the Telegraph in Great Britain
reported that Professor Ian Wilmut, (whose research team had
created world-famous Dolly the sheep in 1996 at the Roslin
Institute, near Edinburgh), was abandoning the processes of
"therapeutic cloning" and "nuclear transfer". Instead, the
professor had now become very excited about redirecting his
attention to the new method, now being referred to as direct
reprogramming, or "de-differentiation". Ironically, in the
same week that Professor Wilmut made his announcement, the
science journal "Nature" revealed that a team in Oregon had
successfully used "therapeutic cloning" to create primate
embryos. However, even the scientist in charge of the team,
Doctor Shoukhrat Mitalipov, readily admitted that the method
known as "therapeutic cloning" is wasteful, (it requires
literally hundreds of eggs to create just two new stem cell
lines), inefficient, and not very cost-effective. I would add
to his remarks that it is also still morally repugnant to
Bible-believing Christians.

What also has scientists excited about "de-differentiation",
is the fact that there are rumors that Dr. Yamanaka and his
team have also been successful with human skin cells, but
simply have chosen not to reveal it yet. This rumor, as well
as the fact that "de-differentiation" does not involve the
use of human embryos in any form whatsoever, has some people
very interested in this new technique, and some of them are
already becoming convinced that "de-differentiation" will be
the wave of the future, insofar as stem cell research is
concerned.

Now, one would think that in light of these more acceptable
developments revolving around "de-differentiation", a lot of
American scientists would be quick to hop on the band wagon,
and embrace it. To my dismay, in January of this same year,
(2008), the American mass media reported that despite the
the moral complications which are associated with embryonic
stem cell research, some scientists are still playing "God";
and a team in California has accomplished what others have
been unable, or unwilling, to achieve; that is, they have
used the somatic nuclear transfer procedure to create five-
day-old embryos, for the purpose of extracting their stem
cells for medical research. I find that unbelievable. Why in
the world would they continue with a morally-unacceptable,
wasteful, inefficient procedure, when something better has
appeared on the horizon, which seems to offer more promise,
and without the emotional baggage?

According to a report from MSNBC, a private company located
in La Jolla, California, called Stemagen, has accomplished
the feat. Of course, a lot of doubt has surrounded this news,
due to the fact that about two years prior to this report, it
was also announced that a Korean team led by Dr. Hwang woo-suk
at Seoul National University, had achieved the very same task.
As you may recall, no one was able to replicate their work,
and eventually, to his own shame, and the shame of the entire
Korean nation, Dr. Hwang woo-suk confessed that everything had
been fabricated, and that there were no cloned human embryos.
In the end, Dr. Hwang woo-suk resigned from his university
position in disgrace. Well, I don't know what has happened to
the work at Stemagen since that time, but according to the
MSNBC news report:

----- Begin Quote -----

There are enough checks and balances reported in the paper -
and a keen awareness by the authors of the fraud perpetrated
by the South Korean group - to believe that they are really
the first to achieve the cloning of human embryos in a
verified, peer-reviewed process.

----- End Quote -----

As the article asks, if they really did do this, as seems to
be the case, now what? Where do we go from here? My answer
would have to be nowhere. Desist in this immoral activity at
once, and respect the dignity of human life, as intended by
our Creator. As to why these scientists still chose such a
controversial method over "de-differentiation", the article
offers an answer, (an unacceptable one in my view), with the
following:

----- Begin Quote -----

With the appearance of some new scientific tricks to get
adult cells to act more embryo-like, scientists, the
president and a host of pundits declared the end of the long
stem cell research battle. Not so fast. Not everyone thinks
reprogramming adult cells to make them act like embryos is
going to work. If you want to build your own repair kit to
fix damaged heart muscle, torn nerves, severed spinal cords
or worn-out joints, then cloning from your own healthy cells
still strikes many as the way to go.

The California company is among those who see human cloning
as the best source of stem cell repair kits.

----- End Quote -----

While the article is supportive of this reprehensible form of
of research, it does readily admit that there are still some
huge obstacles to overcome, such as the following:

----- Begin Quote -----

There is, however, a huge boulder in the path of companies
like Stemagen who are betting on cloning to get them to the
holy grail of stem cells that can be turned into curative
cells. Where to get the eggs needed to make human embryonic
clones?

In the paper announcing the breakthrough, the authors note
that they got three out of 25 attempts at clones to turn
into human clone embryos. That is a success rate of about 10
percent. Even if that success rate improves in the future,
it still means that six or more eggs are going to be
required for a researcher to make a stem cell from a clone
made from the DNA of one of your own cells.

Where will hundreds of thousands of eggs come from when
hundreds of thousands seek cures? Will we pay poor women to
create them? Egg-farming, using powerful drugs with serious
risks, may not be the most humane way to ask a poor woman to
earn a living.

----- End Quote -----

One important question that we need to ask ourselves is this:
Is there any truth to the wonderful promises which have been
made regarding utilizing embryonic stem cell research to find
medical cures for such life-threatening diseases as diabetes,
cancer, Alzheimer's disease, Motor Neuron disease, etc.? And,
even if there is, do they really validate the destruction of
living human embryos, in order to achieve these results? The
answer to both of these questions at this current time is a
clear, resounding "No!". Our answer can be summed up in the
following paragraph taken from a November 2004 article in the
Agape Press:

----- Begin Quote -----

"In more than 20 years of research, he notes, not one malady
or disease has been successfully treated or cured with
embryonic stem cells, while more than 50 medical problems
are already being treated successfully with adult stem
cells."

----- End Quote -----

Now, some critics may complain that I have not asked a fair
question. "Of course there are no cures just yet", they may
retort. "It will take us years to reach a stage where we can
even begin to develop these technologies". But you see, my
question has perfect merit, when you understand the point I
am making here. Please carefully notice that the previous
paragraph makes two distinct statements. The last one is that
the non-controversial method of using adult stem cells has in
fact already provided treatments for fifty different medical
problems, while embryonic stem cell research has provided not
a single one. This claim is also backed up by information one
can find on the Wikipedia website. It states in part:

----- Begin Quote -----

"Adult stem cells and cord blood stems cells have thus far
been the only stem cells used to successfully treat any
diseases. Diseases treated by these non-embryonic stem cells
include a number of blood and immune-system related genetic
diseases, cancers, and disorders; juvenile diabetes;
Parkinson's; blindness and spinal cord injuries."

----- End Quote -----


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