Warren Wollschlager, from the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), speaks at the STEMCELL 2009 conference on Monday, March 23 updating on the fourth year of Connecticut’s $100 million public funding for human embryonic stem cell research. Wollschlager opens with a statement applauding Obama’s support for human embryonic stem cell research by “moving politics out of science”.
Some might find Wollschlager’s comment about “moving politics out of science” a bit ironic.
Both Wollschlager and DPH Commissioner J. Robert Galvin, who chairs the Connecticut’s Stem Cell Advisory Committee, are political appointments involved in Connecticut’s stem cell program. Politics are intimately tied to Connecticut’s stem cell program. The DPH’s political mandate is to ensure economic success in Connecticut’s embryonic stem cell program.
That directive creates conflicts of interest for this agency to uphold and safeguard public health and safety. In fact, the office of Connecticut Department of Public Health has shown a lack of safety regulations on laboratories performing dangerous embryonic stem cell technologies even when illness has been reported. This conflict of interest poses threats to worker safety and public health and safety in Connecticut.
That’s politics for you.
Wollschlager and other advocates for stem cell research often use rhetorical phrases like “moving politics out of science” to sway public opinion into their camp. Here they want to massage the public into thinking that embryonic stem cell research has been delayed because of politics instead of the ethical dilemma it encases by using and destroying human embryos for research.
No, Mr. Wollschlager. It may be impossible to take politics out of stem cell research. But perhaps the problem lies in confusing the term “politics” with “ethics”.
Are we actually moving “politics out of science” or is it rather moving “ethics out of science”?