When Barack Obama was sworn in as America’s 44th president, he had a wide base of support as evidenced by his margin of victory in the election. President Obama vowed to reach out to everyone on the political spectrum in search of unity in order to tackle together the daunting problems the country faces.

Many people, though not all, gave him the benefit of the doubt, saying in effect, “Let’s not pre-judge; let’s see what the president proposes.”

It’s clear now that the benefit of the doubt has worn out. First the president rescinded the Mexico City policy that allows federal funds for groups supporting abortion overseas. Now this week, he overturned a federal ban on the use of embryos for research into stem cells.

Such research has potential, though as yet unrealized, to utilize stem cells that may be developed one day into cures for some of the most vexing conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and spinal-cord injuries. The research by its very nature, however, destroys living human embryos in order to extract their stem cells.

Research using stem cells derived from adult tissues such as skin cells or umbilical cord blood, however, has been shown to be quite effective in the development of dozens of treatments for conditions including several types of cancer.

To sum up: Adult stem cell research results in treatments without ethical objections. Embryonic stem cell research has yielded no treatments and it destroys living human persons.

The president didn’t need to allow the destruction of preborn persons in order to show that science policy should not be clouded by politics, which was his stated reason.

Protecting innocent human life from destruction should outweigh the president’s desire for his goal, regardless of its merits. In fact, it must be the priority of his office. Life is not a matter of ideological perspective, nor is protecting it an opinion among many others. Protecting the lives of innocent and defenseless human beings is the duty of everyone, regardless of religion or politics.

The president needed the support of the millions of pro-life Americans that he has lost as a result of the latest decision regarding stem cells. If he wishes to “reach out” and build much-needed unity, his deeds must match his words. He must protect human life and make it the foundation for all his decisions.