Tom McFeely is the National Catholic Register’s News Editor. He lives in British Columbia.
No one is going to characterize Al Gore as a pro-life poster boy.
Except in comparison to President Barack Obama.
According to news reports circulated today, Gore’s trendy investment fund is climbing aboard the bandwagon for ethical stem-cell research.
The former vice president is a partner with the venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, which has just made a $20-million investment in research involving “induced pluripotent” stem cells, known as iPS.
The iPS research uses adult cells that have been harvested and “reprogrammed” to have the same “pluripotent” capacity to develop into all tissues as those harvested from human embryos that are killed for their stem cells.
Since no human lives are destroyed with the iPS research, the moral problems that exist with killing embryos to obtain stem cells for research do not arise.
“I just think it’s a very important breakthrough that is filled with promise and hope,” Gore said, USA Today reported. “I think this is one of those good news stories that comes along every once in a while.”
It would be even better news if President Obama would join with the scientific shift away from life-destroying embryonic stem-cell research into morally acceptable iPS research.
Unfortunately, Obama moved in exactly the opposite direction last month by lifting the federal ban on funding for research that requires the killing of embryos to obtain new stem-cell lines.
Here’s an idea: Maybe Gore should give Obama a call, and fill him in about the facts of life regarding the current state of stem-cell research.