Medical miracles do not happen simply by accident. They result from painstaking and costly research, from years of lonely trial and error, much of which never bears fruit, and from a government willing to support that work. From life-saving vaccines, to pioneering cancer treatments, to the sequencing of the human genome — that is the story of scientific progress in America. When government fails to make these investments, opportunities are missed. Promising avenues go unexplored. Some of our best scientists leave for other countries that will sponsor their work. And those countries may surge ahead of ours in the advances that transform our lives.
In recent years, when it comes to stem cell research, rather than furthering discovery, our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values. In this case, I believe the two are not inconsistent. As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. I believe we have been given the capacity and will to pursue this research — and the humanity and conscience to do so responsibly.
It’s a difficult and delicate balance. And many thoughtful and decent people are conflicted about, or strongly oppose, this research. And I understand their concerns, and I believe that we must respect their point of view.
But after much discussion, debate and reflection, the proper course has become clear. The majority of Americans — from across the political spectrum, and from all backgrounds and beliefs — have come to a consensus that we should pursue this research; that the potential it offers is great, and with proper guidelines and strict oversight, the perils can be avoided.
That is a conclusion with which I agree. And that is why I am signing this executive order, and why I hope Congress will act on a bipartisan basis to provide further support for this research. We are joined today by many leaders who have reached across the aisle to champion this cause, and I commend all of them who are here for that work.
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