September 26, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

What a Santorum presidency would mean for science & stem cells

Rick Santorum

The current Republican presidential primary favorite du jour is former Pennsylvania Senator, Rick Santorum.

In the past I’ve blogged on the weakness of the Republican field (which is a gift for stem cell research) as well as what a hypothetical Romney Presidency would mean for stem cell research and science.

What about Santorum?

If he were to be the GOP nominee and beat Obama in the fall, what would that mean for science and for stem cell research?

Without a doubt, Santorum is extreme even for mainstream Republicans and has many views that the majority of Americans (even if not Republicans) would find unpalatable.

What about Santorum and biomedical research?

It’s a mixed bag.

When it comes to ES cells, Santorum wants to go further than most other Republican leaders in that he doesn’t just want to ban federal funding of human ES cell research, but he wants to make human ES cell research (funded in any way) illegal.

Santorum has very anti-science views based not on the real world, but his very narrow perspective of morality.

Chris Mooney on the Discovery Magazine blog “The Intersection” has a nice summary of Santorum’s “Troubling Views on Science”:

1) Anti-evolution

2) Anti-ES cell research

3) Doesn’t believe in global warming

However, in all fairness it is important to point out that when Santorum was a senator he consistently voted to increase NIH funding along with his fellow PA senator, Arlen Specter, who was a true champion of NIH. For example, Santorum voted in favor of the 2001 Biomedical Revitalization Resolution. It remains unclear if he would be pro-NIH as a president. On Ron Paul’s website, there are claims that Santorum is a “big government” guy and they cite as examples Santorum’s voting record including the following:

1) “Voted to increase tobacco taxes to pay for an increase in NIH funding”

2) “Voted to increase NIH funding by $1.6 billion”

3) “Voted to increase NIH funding by $700 million”

You’ve gotta give Santorum credit for these votes and ironically, since they are on Ron Paul’s website, I think they clearly show that Ron Paul would be a disaster for science as a President.

 

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