Anita Crane
September 14, 2012
The Obama saga of wasting money and human lives
By Anita Crane

Back in 2008, stem cell scientist and medical doctor James Sherley wrote an Independence Day op-ed called True Liberty and Justice for All Ages because he was worried about the presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama. Since Obama's election, Sherley's fears have come true. As he wrote in 2008:

"While the government created by the founders was valid and just, in the past century American courts eroded its most basic principles, stripping us of our true rights. ...

"In addition to Obama's abortion-business endorsement, he also supports the inhumane and wasteful practice of human ESCR [embryonic stem cell research].

"How can we stand by and let our hard-earned dollars be used to finance these derelictions of our fundamental rights? Why would we permit someone to hold the highest office in our land without his clear commitment to correcting these grave trespasses against our American principles? Abortion and human embryonic stem cell research are bloody stains on the fabric of American history like slavery and racism before them. Even so, while Senator Obama extols unity and inclusion of all, he promotes an abortion industry that feeds on the deaths of 38% of African American babies — an industry that kills African Americans at a rate equal to their deaths from all other causes."

So, in 2009, when President Obama wrote an illegal executive order for federal/taxpayer funding of human embryonic stem cell research, Sherley and Theresa Deisher, another stem cell scientist, filed a lawsuit which has traveled from one court to another. In their latest appeal on Sherley v. Sebelius, the United States Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit decided that Obama and his administration may continue using taxpayer funds for experiments that kill human embryos.

James Sherley conducts his research in Boston and travels the world speaking at science venues, including Vatican symposia. He has received grants from the National Institutes for Health, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Theresa Deisher is based in Seattle and her firm AVM Biotechnology specializes in "pro-life produced drug certification" and pro-life biotechnology. Alliance Defending Freedom, formerly known as the Alliance Defense Fund, represented them in court.

Neither scientist commented on the latest court ruling. However, their complaint explains:

"Beginning in 1996, Congress has regularly included in appropriation bills a rider called the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, see, e.g., Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-74, 508. The Dickey-Wicker Amendment prohibits NIH from funding '(1) the creation of a human embryo or embryos for research purposes; or (2) research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death greater than that allowed for research on fetuses in utero under 45 C.F.R. 46.204(b) and [42 U.S.C. 289g(b)].'"

Princeton University Professor Robert George is involved in the case as a friend of the plaintiffs. He's also a lawyer who served George W. Bush on the President's Council on Bioethics from 2002 to 2009, until Barack Obama abolished it.

"The appeals court decision is disappointing," said George. "What's especially frustrating is our lack of success in persuading even more conservative appeals court judges that the Obama administration's policies do not square with the governing federal statute. It's understandable that good judges would adopt a deferential posture with regard to interpretations offered by appropriate regulatory agencies, but the deferential standard embraced here strikes me as bending so far backward as to do a summersault."

When the majority Congress tried to fund embryonic stem cell research, President Bush vetoed their bills and wrote a legal executive order to uphold the law. In regard to President Obama's numerous illegal executive orders and his administration's policies, Robert George said: "It's just crazy. They really think the rules don't apply to them. I've never seen an administration — not Clinton's, not Carter's — that really thought it was above the law."

In April, ADF argued the Sherley/Deisher case before a panel of three: Chief Judge David Sentelle, Judge Janice Rogers Brown, and Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson.

At that time, Matt Bowman of ADF's Washington office was upbeat. He said: "We were encouraged. The judges asked good questions about whether Congress had already passed a law protecting taxpayer dollars from being used to destroy [human] embryos and we're hopeful that the court will stand up for that law."

Since the court ruled on August 24, ADF senior counsel Steven Aden said: "Americans should not be forced to pay for experiments that destroy human life, have produced no real-world treatments, and violate federal law. That law's clear intent has been utterly ignored. Congress designed that law so that Americans don't pay any more precious taxpayer dollars for needless research made irrelevant by adult stem cell and other research. In the current economic climate, it makes even less sense for the Obama administration to use taxpayer money for this illegal and unethical purpose."

Chuck Donovan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, agreed. "The court's ruling is disappointing inasmuch as it places artificial boundaries around congressional efforts through the Dickey-Wicker amendment... Public funding should follow what is right and what works: adult stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells, and other kinds of ethical research that are delivering real results."

After decades of destroying countless embryonic persons, researchers have produced no successful therapies, treatments or cures. Not one. Sadly, it's a tragedy of science fiction.

Geron, a lab in Menlo Park, Calif., had tried to develop treatments from human embryonic stem cells since 1990. But after losses of $19.5 million in 2011 and $18.3 million in 2010, Geron announced last November that it was ceasing the experiments.

To the contrary, doctors using adult stem cells and umbilical cord blood stem cells have produced many successful treatments.

David Prentice, senior fellow for life sciences at the Family Research Council's Center for Human Life and Bioethics, said: "At this point there is still nothing for embryonic stem cell (ESC) supporters to point at in terms of evidence for successful patient treatments.

"The cloning company Advanced Cell Technology put out a paper in January claiming improvement in the first two patients injected with ESC in the eye for different types of blindness. But the report was so premature as to be unbelievable even by ESC experts, and in fact one patient showed improvement in the eye not injected, leading the authors to admit that they couldn't actually be sure that ESC had done anything at all.

"In the meantime," said Prentice, "adult stem cells have continued their accelerating pace of reports for successful treatment of thousands of patients. Adult stem cells are now being used in clinical trials for treatments of dozens of diseases, and the results are being published with solid evidence for patient benefit."

He pointed to a Wall Street Journal article about a four-year-old girl whose life was saved by using her own stem cells to grow a new vessel to form part of her heart.

"Speaking of heart," continued Prentice, "there are several more publications to add to the dozens of already-published evidence that a person's own adult stem cells can repair and regenerate their hearts." He also recommends a Fox News report about regenerating heart muscle and a statement by the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Hospital.

Prentice wrote about adult stem cells showing the ability to treat stroke-damaged brains and restoring their function and adult stem cells being used to improve the health of patients with autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

According to the National Institutes for Health, it has spent billions on human and non-human embryonic stem cell experiments during Obama's presidency and the figures follow:

2009: $142.6 million on human ESCR; $177.2 on non-human ESCR

2010: $165.2 million on human ESCR; $194.6 million on non-human ESCR

2011: $123 million on human ESCR; $164.6 million on non-human ESCR.

If the U.S. government doesn't cease wasting money and innocent lives, George thinks Doctors Sherley and Deisher may decide to petition the U.S. Supreme Court.

Given President Obama's record on futile embryonic stem cell experiments, mandating health insurance and free abortion-inducing drugs, plus his new Democratic National Convention promise for free abortions, Dr. Sherley's 2008 appeal is more urgent than ever: "Now is the time for all Americans to demand that our presidential candidates are men and women of integrity. Now is the time to demand that our presidential candidates make patriotic declarations of independence for everyone by vowing to protect the fundamental right to life of one and all: born, unborn and embryonic."

© Anita Crane

 

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Anita Crane

Anita Crane is an independent writer and editor with B.A. in Catholic Theology from Christendom College. Catholics are 25 percent of the U.S. population and she writes to encourage America's largest religious bloc to defend human rights. She's also contributor to and editor of Ron Miller's book on racial identity politics "SELLOUT: Musings from Uncle Tom's Porch" (Liberty University Press, 2012). See more at anitacrane.com.

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