Yesterday, Barack Obama lifted the Federal ban on research in new stem cell lines. That means research labs using Federal money are no longer restricted to the 20 or so so-called “Presidential lines” of embryonic stem cells that existed before August 9, 2001, when the ban was instituted.

A commenter at Feministe explains some of the absurdity this led to:

[I]f you were working on non-Presidential lines (with non-federal money, of course), you couldn’t buy a pen with federal money and use it to write in your notebook. The janitor who changed the lightbulbs in your lab couldn’t be paid with federal money.

Embryonic stem cell research could be the key to treating neurological injuries or diseases or even diabetes.

The president notes that “the full promise of stem cell research remains unknown,” but that’s a reason to do stem cell research, not an excuse to prohibit it. We’ll never know if we don’t try.