10 Mar Restoring science to its proper place
President Obama got a lot of applause for declaring in his inaugural address that he would “restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost.”
That was uplifting rhetoric, worthy of embrace and encouragement.
But the louder applause should come now, as the president follows through on his promise.
Monday’s decision by Obama to lift the Bush administration’s restrictions on funding embryonic stem cell research represents the word turned to action. And important action it is.
As Wisconsin Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, who represents the campus where pioneering stem-cell research was done, said after the signing ceremony at the White House: “Today those people struggling with debilitating illness and injuries and their families saw a new ray of hope. With a stroke of the pen, President Obama lifted restrictions on funding embryonic stem cell research imposed by President George W. Bush. This revolutionary research, pioneered by Dr. James Thomson and his colleagues on the UW-Madison campus, holds tremendous promise for treating people with spinal cord injuries, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and other serious medical conditions. This executive order also restores science to the independent status it deserves and requires –- free from political interference.”
Baldwin was joined by Dr. Thomson and other UW-Madison scientists to witness what she described as the opening of “this new era in medical research.”
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