9 March 2009
President Obama will announce today that President Bush's ban on the funding of embryonic stem cell research is to be overturned. The move has been condemned by conservative groups but welcomed by many American scientists.
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For eight years American scientists have been banned by law from using taxpayers’ money to assist in work on most embryonic stem cell lines. The result, according to many scientists, has been a reduction in the effectiveness of their research.
Embryonic stem cells can morph into any cell in the body, and they might one day assist in curing chronic conditions such as diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. But their use involves the destruction of embryos, typically those left over from fertility treatment.
America's religious conservatives are deeply upset. One called the Obama announcement, ‘a slap in the face to Americans who believe in the dignity of all human life’. The Republican Party is also opposing the move, which is yet another bold step away from the policies and ideology of the Bush years, in which religious faith often trumped scientific advice. That approach, Mister Obama will make clear today, is now history.
Justin Webb, BBC News, Washington
Click to hear the words
- banned by law
- forbidden by the government, not allowed
- embryonic stem cell lines
- a family of cells created from embryos (young animals or humans in the earliest stage of development) which are frequently used for research
- change into something else
- chronic conditions
- diseases which last for a long time or reoccur frequently
- left over
- a slap in the face
- a serious insult (this is a phrase, no one was literally hit across the face)
- bold step away
- a brave move or action to depart from
- the Bush years
- the period of time George Bush was president
- won favour over something
- is now history
- is over, in the past