WASHINGTON – From tiny embryonic cells to the large-scale physics of global warming, President Barack Obama urged researchers on Monday to follow science and not ideology as he abolished contentious Bush-era restraints on stem-cell research.
"Our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values," Obama declared as he signed documents changing U.S. science policy and removing what some researchers have said were shackles on their work.
"It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda — and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology," Obama said.
Researchers said the new president's message was clear: Science, which once propelled men to the moon, again matters in American life.
Opponents saw it differently: a defeat for morality in the most basic questions of life and death.
"The action by the president today will, in effect, allow scientists to create their own guidelines without proper moral restraints," said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said.