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NIH Orders Halt To Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the time-for-this-debate-again dept.

Government 593

sciencehabit writes "Responding to a court order issued a week ago, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Friday ordered intramural researchers studying human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) to shut down their experiments. NIH's action — probably unprecedented in its history — is a response to a preliminary injunction on 23 August from US District Judge Royce Lamberth. The judge ruled that the Obama policy allowing NIH funding to be used to study hESC lines violates a law prohibiting the use of federal funds to destroy embryos."

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Buy one get one? (4, Interesting)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418662)

The judge ruled that the Obama policy allowing NIH funding to be used to study hESC lines violates a law prohibiting the use of federal funds to destroy embryos."

What if the scientists just charge for the research, but present an itemized bill that throws in the embryo destruction for free?

I'm mostly kidding, but isn't there some decent way to weasel around this?

Re:Buy one get one? (4, Insightful)

SDF-7 (556604) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418706)

Lobby Congress and the President (who are rather in the majority at the moment) to change the law in the first place?

Oh wait... that's not weaseling, sorry.. I'll come in again.

Re:Buy one get one? (3, Insightful)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418798)

It would just get filibustered. A simple majority doesn't seem to cut it anymore.

Re:Buy one get one? (5, Insightful)

butterflysrage (1066514) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418936)

they need to get rid of that "agree to filibuster" thing they have going on.... if you want to tie things up for hours and hours, then by gum you should have to work at it and ACTUALLY tie things up for hours and hours, not just say "can we agree that we are going to filibuster this so we can all go home and go fishin'?"

Re:Buy one get one? (4, Insightful)

gorzek (647352) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419012)

I agree. The Democrats should call the GOP on their threats to filibuster. Make them do it!

Re:Buy one get one? (3, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419130)

Except then the GOP gets a stump to stand upon. This is where C-SPAN causes a problem; all the rhetoric during a filibuster would be good for Republican PR, they could use the filibuster time to motivate their base, etc.

"Agree to disagree" acceptance of threatened filibuster stinks, I agree. But the other option is to give the Republicans the pulpit for as long as they wish. I'm not sure the Democrats want that to happen.

Re:Buy one get one? (2, Interesting)

butterflysrage (1066514) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419172)

ok, but who watches cspan?

Re:Buy one get one? (2, Funny)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419198)

The people who sit around all day and are too lazy to change the batteries in their remotes even when it dies while watching c-span. Which party does said person belong to?

Re:Buy one get one? (3, Insightful)

gorzek (647352) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419192)

Why? What do the Republicans have to say that would be convincing to anyone but their fellow travelers? I say let 'em get up there and display their stupidity for everyone to see.

Re:Buy one get one? (3, Funny)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419208)

Wow and I thought US politics was like US pro-wrestling (two wrestlers, two sides, one commentator per side, each side supports its wrestler no matter what). Looks like I was wrong.

At least in US pro-wrestling they actually take a chair from outside the ring (even if it's a stage prop) and smack someone with it. Rather than a wimpy fake "agree to chair"[1] somebody, they take the trouble to make a half-decent show of the whole thing.

[1] I hear in nerdland Microsoft they even use real chairs (and it's not just a token ring either).

Re:Buy one get one? (0)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419176)

Except for when it is your party that is in the minority then the filibuster is a useful tool to protect all that is good and decent.

I remember back when the Republicans were in control and how awful it was and those heroic democrats where using the filibuster rights to keep America on the right path. And debates of a "Nuclear Option" where they could stop a filibuster was considered horrible.

Now the Democrats are in control and the filibuster is now a tool to stop progress from working, and bring up how these filibusters are now blocking the majority.

For this topic I don't think it would be a filibuster topic. There are number of republicans who have a degree of support for this. at least enough to stop a filibuster and then vote against it. As well a number of democrats who came from historically republican areas would be against it.

This topic is actually on a really fine gray line, where a decision either way will make a lot of people angry. I think just taking the court decision may be the best political choice. See I tried to get it past but I didn't try hard to overturn it. So you kinda piss off both sides, but it is better then really pissing off one side in a divisive issue.

Re:Buy one get one? (5, Interesting)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418712)

There shouldn't be a need to weasel around this. I admin to being a Christian, but I refuse to allow the beliefs of anybody to get in the way of scientific research. These projects are important and the religious right needs to get off their damned high horse and let progress happen. These are the same people that years ago would have protested the use of antibiotics thinking that they would interfere with the divine will of their respective deities.

Re:Buy one get one? (3, Insightful)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418748)

I refuse to allow the beliefs of anybody to get in the way of scientific research.

The end justifies the means.

Re:Buy one get one? (5, Insightful)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418870)

I think that is an oversimplification - everyone agrees that the intended ends (cures for diseases, etc) are desirable, its just that a small but vocal minority says that the means are bad because some book can vaguely be interpreted to say so.

Re:Buy one get one? (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419160)

I think that is an oversimplification - everyone agrees that the intended ends (cures for diseases, etc) are desirable, its just that a small but vocal minority says that the means are bad because some book can vaguely be interpreted to say so.

Well, yes. It's an oversimplification. But so is the idea of not allowing anybody's beliefs to get in the way of scientific research. It's that sort of thinking that's the hallmark of the mad scientist cliche.

Re:Buy one get one? (3, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419108)

The end justifies the means.

I can't exactly tell what you are trying to say by pointing out the underlying philosophy... but I'd like to mention that I think you have correctly identified it, and that many people's worldviews seem to include believing that the end does not justify the means.

Of course, people then justify all kinds of actions by the end result, but most people seem to be willing to SAY that the end doesn't justify the means.

Re:Buy one get one? (2, Insightful)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418752)

There shouldn't be a need to weasel around this.

I totally agree, but yet, here we are.

It just seems like, if people can find loopholes in the laws to do bad things, surely they can find one to try to cure diseases. (Up to a point.)

Re:Buy one get one? (4, Interesting)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418886)

While this would seem like a no-brainer, "Circumvent this law for the good of society, RIGHT NOW!" type moments, I have to say that the regulators obeying their legislative and judicial overlords is probably in the best interest of the country.

Re:Buy one get one? (1)

sgt101 (120604) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418956)

Oh c'mon, "refuse to allow the beliefs of anybody"?

How about the belief that the environment we share should be protected?

No?

Ok, how about the belief that animals should not suffer unnecessarily in an experiment?

No, not bothered by sad beagles?

Ok, how about the belief that human children shouldn't be dissected?

No?

Ok, how about now, when they are still alive?

No?

Ok, no anesthetic?

C'mon c'mon c'mon - there are limits, the question is which limits?

Re:Buy one get one? (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418964)

Really? So the work done to determine how long a human could survive in cold water done to Russian and Jewish prisoners of war in the Second World War is legitimate and shouldn't have been vilified?

How about the Tuskegee syphilis experiments? Project ARTICHOKE or MKUltra?

Re:Buy one get one? (1)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419224)

How about the fact that those instances involved torture being committed against living, breathing, sentient humans. If the fetuses used for stem-cell research were being forcibly aborted then I would absolutely have a moral dilemma with this, however they are being donated. I admit that it's grisly, and I personally don't have the stomach to do what these researchers do, but if the result is a cure for a disease or a new way of treating illness in general then I will still sleep soundly at night.

Re:Buy one get one? (1)

kungfugleek (1314949) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419064)

I refuse to allow the beliefs of anybody to get in the way of scientific research.

You sure you mean anybody? I mean, you could learn a lot about the human body's capacity for pain and mental anguish by abducting people and torturing them, just as an example. That's against your religious beliefs, but you wouldn't stop it, because then you'd be the one getting in the way of scientific research.

Re:Buy one get one? (2, Interesting)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419120)

I refuse to allow the beliefs of anybody to get in the way of scientific research.

While I agree in general with the rest of your post, I feel like I have to caution you about this point. There are a lot of arguments (some more valid than others) that a human embryo is a potential person and is deserving of the rights and protections of any other human. I don't necessarily agree with this, but I don't know that it is completely untrue either.

We would not terminate a person for the purpose of harvesting their organs. An adult human is capable of expressing a desire to donate their organs, but the default without an expressed preference would be to not take those organs. If one is of the opinion that the embryo is in some way a human being, then it would seem to me to be unethical to harvest from them without their express permission.

Again I am not claiming that I think an embryo is a person, but a lot of people do feel that way. The fact that this is still hotly debated says to me that as a society we have not reached a consensus.

Re:Buy one get one? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419132)

The question is not whether or not this interferes with God.

The question is whether or not this interferes with human life; that is, who decides when an embryo is a human being, and when.

Frankly, until a society has decided on that, that society is making some very ... interesting ... ethical choices when it comes to embryonic stem cell research.

"We don't know if they are humans or not, we haven't decided that; but until we decide, we are going to continue testing on them."

Too late (3, Informative)

overshoot (39700) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418756)

What if the scientists just charge for the research, but present an itemized bill that throws in the embryo destruction for free?

The ruling applies to cell lines derived from more recent embryos -- they're already destroyed and would have been anyway, but the cell lines are already harvested. It's a strange ruling since it doesn't prevent any new embryo destruction (and wouldn't anyway, since they're excess IVF embryos and are headed for the biowaste system either way.)

I'm mostly kidding, but isn't there some decent way to weasel around this?

Nope. The Court has ruled. Unless and until a higher court reverses the ruling, it's binding.

Re:Buy one get one? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33418908)

You know this is just federal funding.

I'd throw some serious change at any company that wants to do the research without the federal funding.

Re:Buy one get one? (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418916)

There is one very easy way to work around it. Don't accept NIH money or resources for your research using embryonic cell lines, or use non-embryonic stem cells.

Or do like a lot of smart companies do and simply do the research overseas. First-world status is overrated anyway, someone else will take up the mantle if the US doesn't want to carry it.

Re:Buy one get one? (4, Informative)

cfulmer (3166) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419088)

Funny you should ask -- that's approximately the reasoning that the government used in the court case to try to say it was legal. Basically, they said "We're not funding the destruction, we're just funding all of the other activities that constitute research." The judge wasn't buying it -- the statute doesn't say "Federal money cannot be used to destroy embryos." It says (approximately) "Federal money cannot be used to fund research in which embryos are destroyed." And, under the relevant regulations, "research" was defined as the entire end-to-end process. In case anybody thinks this was an out-of-control judge on a philosophical bent, I'll note that this was the second time he heard the case -- the first time, he dismissed it because he didn't think the people suing had standing to sue. It was only after they appealed and WON that he decided to grant the preliminary injunction.

Re:Buy one get one? (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419174)

I'm mostly kidding, but isn't there some decent way to weasel around this?

Spoken like a true Democrat. If you don't like a law, ignore it. Don't enforce it. Weasel around it. And abuse those who want the law to be obeyed.

Don't like dealing with illegal immigrants, because you think they can become votes for your party in the next election? Don't to it, and attack Arizona when they try to enforce the existing federal law.

And so we take another giant step (4, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418672)

... Backwards ...

Re:And so we take another giant step (0, Troll)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419048)

The Nazis took great leaps forward in science and medicine, but look who they experimented on in the process. I'm just saying...

Re:And so we take another giant step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33419164)

Godwin ladies and gentlemen, how about a big round of applause

Lets be fair then, (5, Interesting)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418674)

Everyone who is against stem cell research should be unable to ever benefit from the results of said research.

Re:Lets be fair then, (1, Insightful)

SDF-7 (556604) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418738)

I'd not only accept your offer -- but welcome it. Having ethical concerns with a practice and not being entirely sure that the fruits of the practice are identifiable (and hence avoidable) is a much worse state that if we could be sure that those who find this troubling could fully avoid supporting or abetting the practice by buying products or services derived from it.

Re:Lets be fair then, (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33418760)

Everyone who is against stem cell research should be unable to ever benefit from the results of said research.

Agreed... It's almost like we are in an age of endarkenment... This is so saddening

Re:Lets be fair then, (5, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418850)

As a biomedical researcher, I wouldn't want the fruits of my labor to be withheld from anyone who needs medical treatment on the basis of their ideology. I would, however, like to see more people living up to their putative beliefs by refusing to make use of technology derived from practices they claim to find morally objectionable. If you're opposed to stem cell research, then refuse any treatment based on such research; if you're a creationist, then refuse any treatment based on modern biology at all; etc. This applies outside the medical realm, too -- consider the number of people who bitch about open source on Slashdot, or more generally, people using the internet to complain about how terrible the internet is. Put your money where your mouth is, folks.

Re:Lets be fair then, (-1, Flamebait)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419142)

Yet another person claiming that creationists have contributed nothing of value to science. Yawn.

The entire modern science of genetics is based on principles discovered by an Austrian monk in the 1800s. I’d like to see stem cell research happening without any of those discoveries.

If I should only benefit from the work of creationists, then you shouldn’t benefit from any of it. Is that the way it works?

Re:Lets be fair then, (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419182)

if you're a creationist, then refuse any treatment based on modern biology at all;

Is "modern biology" is premised on evolution? If evolution isn't the way things came about, all of modern biology falls apart?

Re:Lets be fair then, (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418930)

I'm not against Stem Cell research I'm against Embryonic Stem Cell research. Want to take a guess at which one has produced actual results and treatments?

Re:Lets be fair then, (0, Flamebait)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418984)

Indeed, that is exactly the way to do it. If you object to the research, you should not be allowed to have your life saved or illness cured by the technique.

Much of the objection is due to religion, religious types thinking we shouldn't be messing with stem cells and everything to do with life. But these are the same people who probably don't care about genetically modified crops or cloned cattle.

Re:Lets be fair then, (2, Insightful)

ohiovr (1859814) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419028)

Do I have to be a religious nutcase to object to breeding human beings to be used for spare parts and then discarded as trash? /atheist

Re:Lets be fair then, (1)

ohiovr (1859814) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419008)

Roger that. I will never accept the breeding of human beings for the purpose of using them for spare parts.

Re:Lets be fair then, (1)

ilsaloving (1534307) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419170)

Roger that. I will never accept the breeding of human beings for the purpose of using them for spare parts.

I agree. Breeding human beings just to carve them up like a pot roast is morally reprehensible.

Now stem cell research on the other hand, is a fantastic way of saving and/or improving people's lives using nothing more than waste cells that would have been thrown in the incinerator anyway.

Re:Lets be fair then, (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33419014)

Everyone who is against stem cell research should be unable to ever benefit from the results of said research.

Citation needed.

NIH Order Halt to Embryonic Stem Cell Research

You know what the world "halt" means? It means stop. As in, there is no longer research into this field, so there will be no benefits.
Also, I like how you conveniently lump adult stem cell research into this argument. They are unrelated. Kudos to you, dick.

Re:Lets be fair then, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33419104)

Nonsense. That's an emotional reaction on your part. Many new technologies were resisted in their day. Mankind shouldn't be deprived of the benefits of scientific advance just because he was too shortsighted to see, initially, that said benefits would arise.

You're basically restricting benefits on some kind of IQ/foresight basis.

What you're saying isn't a far cry from eugenics.

Re:Lets be fair then, (4, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419180)

Except I don't know anyone against stem cell research. I am however aware of many people opposed to embryonic stem cell research and most of them would be horrified to learn that they were receiving treatment that derived from embryonic stem cell research (of course that won't happen anytime soon, since there are no treatments derived from embryonic stem cell research despite lavish funding of it by the state of California and several other states and municipalities).

Re:Lets be fair then, (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419184)

Unfortunately the "screw you guys, we gonna do do what we want. its gonna be really cool and super awesome, and you guys can't come" method of governance is not exactly a stable one. And doesn't do anything towards addressing the concern, reconciling the disagreement, and coming to a civil and reasoned resolution.

Re:Lets be fair then, (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419222)

Natural selection at work. Brilliant!

Yet another sign (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33418688)

...that Neanderthals are making a comeback.

Re:Yet another sign (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418794)

That... or the knights who say NIH! have returned!

As always, not mentioned (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418698)

Whether the order applies to the embryonic stem cell lines approved by the Bush Administration. Does this order "shut down embryonic stem cell research" including projects dating to long before the Obama executive order, or does it shut down some more recent stem cell projects using previously-unapproved cell lines?

Hyperbolic headline department.

Re:As always, not mentioned (2, Funny)

vux984 (928602) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418742)

"As always, not mentioned..."

Unless you RTFA....

Re:As always, not mentioned (2, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418772)

I'm pretty sure it applies to all of them; IIRC, the judge found that not only the Obama-era but also the Bush-era research violated the law. TFA seems to indicate that all hESC research under the auspices of NIH is covered by the order.

Re:As always, not mentioned (1)

konohitowa (220547) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418952)

So does this originate with the Clinton ban on stem cell research or does it precede it?

Re:As always, not mentioned (1)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419078)

So do we have to stop doing research based on this research? How is it that a process without negative effects, that has produced positive effects, is being ruled illegal?

When Religion Meets Science (2, Insightful)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418708)

Things always go smoothly. But seriously - the "debate" (can't believe there even is one) over creationism is harmful intellectually, but I doubt it is actively inhibiting research on anything. Stem cell research, on the other hand, IS being held back by religious groups that believe any fertilized embryo is a human. And I for one truly detest the role religion is playing in actively inhibiting research on diseases that are currently killing people. My right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins - I can't find a clever way to say it, but why must this still not apply to religion?

Re:When Religion Meets Science (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33418876)

When Law Meets Science

There fixed that up for you.

Judges rule on the law. It is what the law says right now that you disagree with. Dont like it? Ask your local congressman to write a law to change it then we vote on it...

Re:When Religion Meets Science (3, Insightful)

SDF-7 (556604) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418888)

Turn the argument around for a moment, though. Why must your beliefs mandate that another individual fund (via mandatory taxation) research they view as fundamentally unethical? (And yes -- there are other things taxes may pay for folks may find unethical... I have nothing but empathy for a true pacifist who has to help fund the War Department, etc.) Can you blame them for petitioning those who both impose the taxation and fund the research about their grievances (you know, participating in the democratic process and all)? If you feel they can be and should be outvoted -- get the law changed. If they can't and you want to fund it anyway, then don't use mandatory taxation funds to do so (fund it yourself, do it at the state level where you can get the law passed, etc.) The ruling isn't that the funding is unconstitutional -- you have reasonable redress here.

Re:When Religion Meets Science (4, Interesting)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418974)

Why must your beliefs mandate that another individual fund (via mandatory taxation) research they view as fundamentally unethical?

I think the answer has to simply be: that's where we've chosen to draw the line in our Constitution.

That is to say, we've set it up so that (in theory), the majority doesn't get to take your individual rights away, but they do get to decide what we collectively spend money on. (And in that context, I don't consider anyone to have a right to not have their tax dollars spent on something the majority agrees with, excepting, of course, when it abridges another individual right.)

Overall I think that strikes a pretty good compromise between a government that can't do anything (even when it should) and a government that can do too much. It's not perfect, but it beats any alternative we've tried so far.

Re:When Religion Meets Science (1)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419128)

There is a distinction here - stem cell research is being done for the public good. If stem cells could be made from plants, would there be anything holding us back from a stem cell bonanza? Pacifism is understandable - war protesters will agree that wars are NOT in the public's best interest.

Re:When Religion Meets Science (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33418932)

As with abortion, it all comes down to your fundamental assumptions - pro-life groups (largely) view an embryo as human at conception. Pro-choice and ESC supporters view it as not yet human. Killing a human who has done no harm is morally reprehensible, as is restricting the actions of humans due to something less than human. Unfortunately, without a true shared premise to reason from, there is no way to settle this.

Re:When Religion Meets Science (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418946)

Because this is a "Christian" nation and their right to not be offended by things like cursing, nudity, homosexuality, other religious views mustn't be called into question. It's just a matter of extreme arrogance and self centered behavior. There's a lot of people that genuinely believe that it's their right not to have to share the planet with people that disagree with their religious views even if said religious views are fucked up beyond belief. Which is why abortion is wrong, but fertility drugs and IVF are perfectly fine. Even though a single instance of IVF kills more embryos that just about any single person's life time of abortions does.

Re:When Religion Meets Science (3, Informative)

SDF-7 (556604) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419166)

Riiight... which is why the Catholic Church is such a proponent of IVF [catholicinsight.com] .

Oh wait -- that's in Bizarro land.

As far as fertility drugs, they're apparently generally fine with them -- simply cautioning that large multiple pregnancies put both mother and infants at risk.

Sorry to burst your bubble but some of these "arrogant and self centered" folk are more consistent than you think. (And I would think on at least the "arrogant" front that there's a little speech about not worrying about the mote in your neighbor's eye....)

Am I the only one who read at first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33418714)

"NIN Orders Halt To Embryonic Stem Cell Research"?

And I'don't like at all Nine Inch Nails.

Libertarian Approach (0)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418732)

Is simply this, anyone can donate eggs or sperm for research but they have to paid for it.

I own my own body so why can't I sell Haploid Genetic material to some research firm to do with what they please?

Re:Libertarian Approach (2, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418872)

I own my own body so why can't I sell Haploid Genetic material to some research firm to do with what they please?

That's not exactly the problem. It what happens after the Egg + Sperm stage. The some magic occurs and you have a proto human that various and sundry groups are trying to give full human rights to. Exactly when the embryo becomes legally human is the issue. Not whether or not you can pretend that your travels to the darker side of the Internet is somehow helping the human condition.

life starts when you move outta my basement! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33419076)

You're not a person until you're self-sufficient.

Re:Libertarian Approach (3, Interesting)

geckipede (1261408) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418896)

That's missing the point entirely.

This is more or less the same debate as over early abortions and chemical contraceptives, it's about when your genetic material becomes an independent and legally protected person. Unless you're suggesting that the libertarian approach is to let people sell their children thus making the question irrelevant, you need to set some defined boundaries of personhood and embryohood.

Re:Libertarian Approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33419046)

the law doesn't stop the research. it just says you cant fund it with federal tax dollars

Law's the Law (5, Insightful)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418734)

Well, it might suck, but presuming the legal basis of the court ruling is valid, I'm appreciative that they shut the experiments down.

Before you flame me into a crispy marshmallow, answer me this: Is the NIH the sort of institution you want playing fast and loose with any law or court ruling that isn't blatantly, obviously unconstitutional or an instantaneous danger to human lives? I want NIH crossing their T's and dotting the shit of out their I's, for my own safety and peace of mind, and while I hope they fight this ruling (because stem cells will save lives in the long run) I'm grimly satisfied they obeyed it while it's legally binding.

Re:Law's the Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33419024)

Finally sombody who adresses the issue at hand. As I see it, this entire issue had nothing to do with religeon and everything to do with the checks and balances of our democratic government. This wasn't a question over whether or not an embryo is a child or stem cell research is valuable. It was a question of whether the law was being followed and the court says it wasn't.

I'd also like to point out that the court ruled against both the conservative right (Bush) and the liberal left (Obama).

Re:Law's the Law (2, Interesting)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419086)

So when will they put a halt to all IVF treatments that destroy embryos?

The fact that this can be applied very very broadly is a reason to worry, and hope.

Maybe know they'll change their focus (3, Insightful)

the Gray Mouser (1013773) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418736)

to adult stem cells - you know, the ones that have actually led to productive therapies.

Embryonic stem cells are said to have a lot of "potential". Strange, by this time I would think they would have come up with something for all the hype made over them.

Re:Maybe know they'll change their focus (3, Informative)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418804)

For effective stem cell therapy, you need to use your own stem cells. Those would only be available if you saved some at birth (there are companies that offer to freeze and store umbilical cord blood on the off chance that someday it might be useful.) But for most people alive now, adult cells would need to be used.

Re:Maybe know they'll change their focus (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33419122)

That is not true. Adult stem cells have been found to exist throughout the body including skin, mammary glands, etc. While I'm quoting Wikipedia, the article has numerous good citiations built in. Note the section on olfactory stem cells, where it says that they have the same ability as embryonic stem cells and can be harvested much easier and directly from the body of the patient.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adult_stem_cells [wikipedia.org]

Re:Maybe know they'll change their focus (4, Insightful)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418824)

By your logic:

Cancer has been researched for decades. People still die from cancer. Therefore, the research was pointless.

As another point - many times research bears no fruits initially. Just because there haven't been any results yet doesn't mean there will never be results

.

Re:Maybe know they'll change their focus (1)

dunezone (899268) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419204)

Also research that leads nowhere initially might lead to somewhere later. Fleming tried to make penicillin work but figured that you couldn't produce enough of it to be workable in a person. It wasn't until about ten years later that two guys figured out a way to adequately culture it and create dosages that could cure. Heck, even their first patient died cause they couldn't produce enough to clear him of the infection.

Maybe Fleming should have burned all his work since it lead him nowhere.

Re:Maybe know they'll change their focus (0, Troll)

HotBBQ (714130) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418920)

Meh. Why don't we just study with cosmos with proven telescope technology and don't try anything else. Why don't we just stop trying new things all together. It's a couple of fucking cells. They would thrown in the garbage otherwise.

Re:Maybe know they'll change their focus (1, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419002)

Just a thought, perhaps if the religious nutters weren't constantly interfering and insisting that scientists only use the worst samples they'd make some progress. What you're suggesting is a bit like saying that research into fuel efficent technology can only be done if it involves using fossil fuels, because after all the oil industry is fine with it and it's the only technology that's proven to be practical on a massive scale in recent decades.

Re:Maybe know they'll change their focus (2, Insightful)

Algan (20532) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419072)

Remove all the legal limitations to embryonic stem cell research and then we can compare results on an equal footing.

Re:Maybe know they'll change their focus (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419084)

Strange, by this time I would think they would have come up with something for all the hype made over them.

I'm sure the lack of federal funding for the work has nothing to do with this...

Re:Maybe know they'll change their focus (2, Informative)

Ruke (857276) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419138)

The results follow the research money. Embryonic stem cell research hasn't provided as much fruit as it is capable of because the NIH isn't willing to fund it, or any part of it. If your lab uses microscopes bought with an NIH grant, you cannot use those microscopes in embryonic stem cell research. And very few labs are fully stocked with equipment that hasn't been partially paid for with NIH funds.

Sickening (4, Insightful)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418780)

That one person's (or group of people's) belief in fairy tales should hold back progress that could save countless lives and easy the suffering of millions.

It truly is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33418822)

But bear in mind that it's the same group whose belief in fairy tales led directly to the suffering and slaughtering of millions, so this isn't at all out of line with their modus operandi.

Re:Sickening (4, Interesting)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419054)

It's not necessarily that. The belief that a fertilized embryo is a human isn't necessarily linked to religion (and I'm not sure how anyone can assume that link). I'm personally not religious, but I do hold that belief.

We're not talking creationist "maybe some guy in the sky created everything but we can't prove it" sort of ideology here. We're talking about a BIOLOGICALLY IDENTIFIABLE marker in the stage of the creation of a new life: the fertilization of of a cell and the forming of a unique DNA sequence. To me as a non-religious person that is actually a much less vague point of definition as to use birth as the marker is too variable - a baby can be born at 5 months into the term or 10 months into the term and still survive in some cases. Some say viability outside of the womb, but the reality is that NO baby is self-sufficient outside of the womb (all of them need additional assistance from others). Even if you take it down to the level of "able to survive with external assistance outside of the womb" then you have a situation that will vary depending on the technological environment present. A baby born in a well-equipped modern NICU can survive MUCH earlier than one born into a 3rd world backwater.

In short, completely aside from religion, fertilization seems to me like the most obvious point to declare a human life as started without getting into judgement calls and gray areas. Now, that may make certain research topics difficult, but that's the way things are. Experimentation on live humans would likely allow much faster progress too, but we as a society have agreed that the ethical implications of such research outweigh any potential gains.

Indeed I find it much LESS scientific of a matter when many people's definitions basically boil down to condition that "it's not a human if I can't hear it complain", which to me is more of an emotional definition than a scientific one.

Re:Sickening (3, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419126)

I'm personally not religious, but I do hold that belief.

So I suppose we should keep the shell that once held a now-dead brain alive via life support for as long as possible? I mean, according to your definition it's a human life, right? It still has "a unique DNA sequence". So "pulling the plug" should be universally wrong, period.

Right?

hypocrites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33418788)

The enterpretation of the law may be correct but it dosnt stop MOST* of the people who oppose the research using the result as soon as they or a loved one gets sick.

* I know there are some religious groups who do stand by what they preach.

But yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33418800)

...Osama, I mean, Obama, will still let federal money somehow make it around to where women can have abortions.

Re:But yet... (-1, Troll)

iammani (1392285) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418868)

But doesnt Obama, I mean, Osama, live in a cave in Afganistan? Are you telling me that he can somehow control federal money? OMG!!?!!

Re:But yet... (2, Interesting)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419110)

Your two implications are inherently self contradicting. If, as you imply in your oh so clever "Osama, Obama" inference, Obama is a closet conservative Muslim, then he would object to your second inference. Since conservatives Muslims, like conservative Christians, are generally anti-abortion.

And to think... (4, Insightful)

BergZ (1680594) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418810)

We used to criticize the USSR because they politicized science [wikipedia.org] .

Unfortunately the decision makes sense. (4, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418902)

Given the wording of the law and the clear legislative intent, the decision seems to be legally correct. The solution here requires congress to act. An additional unfortunate detail is that the Democrats are completely spineless and so getting them to deal with this problem is going to be tough even though this majority of Americans support embryonic stem cell research (source- http://abcnews.go.com/sections/politics/DailyNews/poll010626.html [go.com] ).

Re:Unfortunately the decision makes sense. (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419010)

An additional unfortunate detail is that the Democrats are completely spineless

So what you're saying is... the real question is whether or not embryonic stem cell research can regenerate a missing spine? :)

Re:Unfortunately the decision makes sense. (4, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419044)

An additional unfortunate detail is that the Democrats are completely spineless and so getting them to deal with this problem is going to be tough even though this majority of Americans support embryonic stem cell research (source- http://abcnews.go.com/sections/politics/DailyNews/poll010626.html [go.com] ).

Here's the problem: the people who are against federally funded ESTR are sometimes vehemently against it; they will vote against a candidate that supports ESTR despite any other issues. On the other side, it's a not a voting issue. People will still vote against a candidate who supports federally funded ESTR.

So you end up with politicians who will not risk taking action on any real issues, because they are afraid of alienating single-issue voters.

Why bother? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33418904)

Why is everyone making a big stink about embryonic stell research anyways? Adult stem cell research appears to show a lot more promise and doesn't have all the abortion political baggage tied to it. I don't understand the Obama Administration's stance on this; they spend a lot of political capital on a science that is decades away from producing anything real when a comparable science, Adult Stem Cell research, could be supported without expending almost any political capital.

Before raging against this decision (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33418914)

Consider the other side of the question:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_human_experimentation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_731

Where do we draw the line? It is not an easy question, and is not easily answered.

The doctors who did these experiments thought that they knew where to draw the line. Humanity decided that they were wrong.

Dumbest discussion ever (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418954)

Awesome, this discussion is along the lines of "Embryonic stem cells will cure all disease!" Research on things we can't even do in rats, huh...

China (4, Insightful)

wickerprints (1094741) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419158)

Very soon--perhaps even already--China will be the premier center of stem cell research in the world. They are making enormous advances, due to their strong economic position and their lack of being hindered by religious conservatives or a two-party system. Researchers will go there, all the intellectual work will flock to China because they can get their funding and have the collaboration they need. And the US will become a short-lived historical footnote, an intellectual backwater led by a corrupt plutocracy, filled with ignorant evangelical nutjobs and greedy corporatists. Americans are stupid, greedy, short-sighted, superstitious, easily cowed, lazy, obsessed with violence and sex, and fiscally irresponsible.

Make no mistake: I do not condone China's abhorrent record on human rights, politics, foreign policy, censorship, or the environment. I especially despise the way they have so brilliantly manipulated the US into conflicts with other countries and have essentially commandeered the global economy. But they have only done this because, again, Americans are too stupid and played right into the trap.

good health, clean energy/food, all outlawed (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33419194)

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Care for the child up to birth!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33419214)

These right wing nut jobs care about the embryo->fetus, but then when the kid is born they will do anything to not fund programs to help kids.

If abortion is genocide then so are wet dreams and a woman's monthly period.

Charge me with the genocide because last night my body caused the death a billion "potential babies."

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