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WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama plans to lift his predecessor's restrictions on federal funding for stem cell research, the latest reversal of controversial policies implemented by former president George W Bush's administration.
The long-promised move, coming nearly two months into his term, will allow a rush of research aimed at better treatment, if not cures, for ailments from diabetes to paralysis - research that crosses partisan lines, backed by such notables as Nancy Reagan and the late actor Christopher Reeve. But it stirs intense controversy over whether government crosses a moral line with such research.
Obama, pictured, also planned to make a broad declaration that science - not political ideology - would guide his administration. "I would simply say this memorandum is not concerned solely - or even specifically - with stem cell research," said Harold Varmus, chairperson of the White House's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology.
He said it would address how the government uses science and who is advising officials across federal agencies. The proposed changes, which Obama planned to sign yesterday, do not fund creation of new lines, nor specify which existing lines can be used. Bush banned their use - he and his supporters said they were defending human life. - Sapa-AP