The stem cell debate, so-called, is not a discussion that has much to do with science. It is more about the political power commanded by two different world views: scientific and fundamentalist. Whether the science is "right" under any of its usual self-imposed criteria of ethics, power of explanation, repeatability or enabling of beneficial medical and engineering applications is not material to the struggle. Science only advises political power and its seeming power depends entirely on whether the holders of political power have sufficient education and imagination to seek and make effective use of that advice. Against that, and very much threatened by that is the much less structured and less acknowledged ways in which fundamentist and other religious world views seek to promote their "advice" to our leaders...as if they knew anything about the problems the science was developed to address.
It does not matter how many hoops the biotechnologists jump through. Until the preachers and acolytes yield their science policy jobs to real scientists and are demoted back to their pulpits, we will suffer a near standstill of progress. That would be both technical progress, and the humanitarian progress it enables. The trend of American administrations away from seriously taking impartial scientific advice into consideration began with the election of a figurehead president who had never studied a word of any science and by the time he entered office at age 69 may have forgotten what he had learned of economics back in 1932. [One wonders if the onset of his Alzheimers actually dates to the 60's when he forgot labor and new deal politics he had spoken for in his first fifty years. Seriously! In a free country we can certainly change our minds but clinically, this looks almost like a personality change.] We know Ronald Reagan could not do the figuring in his head. Clinton reversed this trend briefly. Bush resumed it and took it to its often bizarre anti-science extreme. Our nation is now lead by the blind: a party without one expert who could give you a rudimentary explanation of the mainstream science behind a strictly physical phenomenon like global warming is none the less setting our goals for [not] tackling problems that will strangle our economy or leave us as diseased as we were a decade ago.