I found someone willing to admit that she’s not happy with today’s news on the production of embryo-like stem cells without the destruction of embryos or harm to women from donating eggs.
Robin Alta Charo is a lawyer who, as part of the Clinton administration’s National Bioethics Advisory Commission, helped fabricate the policy to allow research on embryonic stem cells if the embryos were killed using someone else’s money. She’s part of the surprisingly small community that pushes for cloning, embryo destruction and Federal funding of the research, as well as attempting to regulate the very institutions, boards, and corporations they oversee. (See my article “Ethicists for hire?” for more on the relationships. Or, simply Google “R. Alta Charo” – for some reason she drops the “Robin.”)
Charo is on record as hoping that cloning and regenerative medicine will finally prove that we humans aren’t anything special, and maybe even that there’s no God. If you think I’m exaggerating, listen to the lecture recording available, here.)
From the ScienceDaily excerpt of the University of Wisconsin press release, with the cute title, “Reprogramming the Debate: Stem Cell Finding Alters Ethical Controversy,”
“It’s going to fuel those who call for preferential federal funding only for non-embryonic stem cell research and it will certainly complicate any efforts to expand funding for embryonic stem cell research at the federal level,” she says.
. . .
“Any piece of research like this that suggests that we can get cell lines that are equally usable without having to go through an embryo in intermediate steps is going to undermine any effort on the part of Congress to overturn the Bush policy,” she says.
“No matter how well this new technique can be used for many of the disease-research and disease-treatment applications foreseen for embryonic stem cell and cloning research, however, calls for criminalization or wholesale de-funding of embryonic stem cell and cloning research are not warranted,” Charo adds. “Criminalizing any area of science, as opposed to merely regulating it, would be contrary to the political and constitutional traditions of academic and scientific freedom, as well as the historical spirit of inquiry that characterizes this country.”
From the Wisconsin article linked above,
Charo serves on several expert advisory boards of organizations with an interest in stem cell research, including CuresNow, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the International Society for Stem Cell Research and WiCell, as well as on the advisory board to the Wisconsin Stem Cell Research Program.
In 2005, she was appointed to the ethics standards working group of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Also in 2005, she helped to draft the National Academies’ Guidelines for Embryonic Stem Cell Research, and in 2006 she was appointed to co-chair the National Academies’ Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee.
I’m sure that we shouldn’t assume that those connections with Wi-Cell, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, or even her associations with the Alan Guttmacher Institute and Planned Parenthood have anything to do with her dislike for what many consider good news. And ignore the comments about the “Bush Administration.” Charo’s involvement with the Progressive Bioethics movement, couldn’t have anything to do with politics.