New York State Capitol Building, Albany
New York State Capitol Building, Albany
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Humanize New York to Stop Funding Embryonic-Stem-Cell Research

Originally published at National Review

Oh, the screaming we heard about embryonic stem cells during the George W. Bush presidency. Those who opposed wide-open federal funding were branded “anti-science,” and delusional for claiming that adult stem cells offered the better promise of treatments. The media pushed the tripe that people who supported Bush’s very modest funding restrictions didn’t want people healed of terrible diseases. It was a time of hysteria and demagoguery that did not permit reasoned debate.

It was also a time of political advantage-taking. California voters foolishly passed a $3 billion bond measure — since renewed — in which the broke state borrowed money to throw money at human cloning and embryonic-stem-cell research (ESCR). New York began funding such studies in 2007.

But guess what? ESCR has not led to CURES! CURES! CURES! as the hype had it. Indeed, after all these years, there have been very few clinical trials using embryonic products — and no FDA approved therapy of which I am aware.

In contrast, adult-stem-cell research is thriving and induced pluripotent stem cells — that is, stem cells made from skin — are bringing great benefit to science and medicine in just the way President Bush predicted.

Now, New York is pulling the plug on ESCR funding. From the Science story:

The cancellation of the New York State Stem Cell Science program (NYSTEM) is contained in a budget for 2022, which the state Legislature approved last week and Governor Andrew Cuomo signed. The spending plan, which takes effect 1 May, halts funding for new grants, but honors existing contracts until they expire. A spokesperson for the state Division of the Budget, which has allocated the program’s funds for the Department of Health, told Science that stem cell research should “advance within academic and private research communities rather than the Department of Health, which is focused on its core mission of delivering direct services and achieving positive health outcomes for all New Yorkers.”

Well, waddya know about that. The “anti-science” crowd had the better argument all along.

Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism
Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.
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