Later today, President Obama will sign an Executive Order that will undo restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research placed by the Bush administration.
Arthur Caplan, the director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, says the Executive Order marks a return of a coherent science policy to the United States.
Obama’s decision to permit federal funding of embryonic stem cell research is — finally — the correct policy for the United States to follow. We have the scientific expertise and infrastructure to establish whether embryonic stem cell research can deliver cures. And we have sufficient moral consensus that it is the right thing to do. Obama’s decision puts the sick and severely disabled at the center of federal research efforts — right where they should be.
UPDATE: Researchers at the University of Minnesota respond:
"It will have a huge impact on my research and an even bigger impact on the research many other scientists are doing," said Professor Meri Firpo, who is leading the diabetes studies. "The restrictions have really put a crimp in the number of scientists who can use this research tool."