The Dispatch: More from CWR...

Questioning the wisdom of the late Susan Solomon

Solomon placed herself in the middle of a national debate over embryonic stem cell research and raised over $400 million for research. What is there to show for it?

The Wall Street Journal's obituary for Susan L. Solomon. (Image: CWR)

Susan L. Solomon died on September 8th after a battle with ovarian cancer. You probably won’t know her name. I didn’t.

But something in her Wall Street Journal obituary stirred memories of old and riveting debates.

When she was 18, Solomon married the drummer for the Sixties band Country Joe and the Fish, who played Woodstock. But that is not the story.

After divorcing the drummer, she went to law school, became a big wheel at the Sony Corporation and other companies, and ended up founding a charity dedicated to embryonic stem cell research, eventually raising almost half a billion dollars for that purpose.

Susan Solomon placed herself in the middle of a national debate over embryonic stem cell research.

You may remember the emotional and often fractious debate about embryonic stem cells. It roiled our political culture back during the Bush administration. For instance, practically every speaker at the 2004 Democratic National Convention that nominated Catholic John Kerry spoke about the desperate need for treatments and cures promised from embryonic stem cells. For example, Ron Reagan, the youngest son of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, focused his speech on embryonic stem cell research, concluding: “Whatever else you do come Nov. 2, I urge you, please, cast a vote for embryonic stem cell research.”

Anyone with moral qualms about killing human embryos for their body parts, that is, stem cells, was called “anti-science.” That may have been when that epithet was first coined.

Advocates of embryo-destructive research made certain rather outlandish claims.

In 2006, my wife Cathy and I were invited to run the final days of a statewide referendum on human cloning in Missouri. Proposed as an addition to the Missouri Constitution, Amendment 2 purported to ensure that Missouri patients would “have access to any therapies and cures and allow Missouri researchers to conduct any research permitted under federal law.” It also called for the banning of human cloning or attempted cloning.

The embryonic stem cell debate was then and is now replete with massive deceptions. In this case, that there is a difference between “reproductive cloning” and “therapeutic cloning.” “Reproductive cloning” was, they said, the deliberate creation of embryos that would be allowed to grow into toddlers. On the other hand, “therapeutic cloning” was acceptable because it created a human embryo and then allowed for her destruction to get at her stem cells.

And then there were the promises of treatments and cures. The primary talking point of the embryo-destruction crowd was there were a plethora of treatments and cures if only we could get at the stem cells of these tiny human beings.

Embryonic stem cells are “pluripotent,” that is, they have not yet become specific organs and can therefore become almost anything in the human body. This means they can be used to cure parts of the body that are damaged or diseased. In the Wall Street Journal obit of Solomon, it highlights that she helped raise more than $400 million for “stem-cell research aimed at curing such diseases as cancer, diabetes and Parkinson’s.” Micheal J. Fox told members of Congress that “Embryonic stem cell research holds enormous promise.” Others claimed it would cure Alzheimer’s.

So, what is the state of stem cell research?

Well, first, there have been heroic efforts to obtain pluripotent cells without killing the human embryo. This resulted from George Bush’s 2006 decision to end federal funding for the creation of new cell lines from the destruction of embryos. It forced scientists who wanted government funding to get creative. The use of adult stem cells grew from that, as did the development of something called “induced pluripotent stem cells,” where adult stem cells are coaxed into pluripotency. A Japanese doctor won the Nobel Prize for this in 2006.

While adult stem cells have been effective in treating many disorders, and this has been a Godsend for some, those cells are not pluripotent; that is, they cannot turn into anything other than what they are.

Induced pluripotent stem cells seem not to have taken off as first hoped. According to a 2018 article at, “The number of ES-cell publications grew rapidly after 2006 and has held pace, at about 2,000 per year since 2012.”

The problem with embryonic stem cells is they are something of a wild child. They tend to die when you work with them or are prone to creating tumors. To date, there appears to have been only one person “cured” of anything using embryonic stem cells, a man who seems to no longer need insulin to treat his diabetes. We shall see if this lasts.

Most papers you find online about stem cell research are about making the cells easier to work with. Some tests are happening on actual patients. They think macular degeneration is a possible candidate for treatment with embryonic stem cells. But for the most part, researchers are trying to find ways to create new “colonies” from existing lines.

In the meantime, the scientists keep making promises, and the deceptions keep coming. For example, the website of the New York Stem Cell Foundation — a foundation which Susan Solomon co-foundeddefines embryonic stem cells as “pluripotent stem cells that come from blastocysts – small clumps of five-to-seven-day-old embryo cells – left over from in vitro fertilization treatments that would otherwise be discarded.”

The good news is that they must keep the deception alive in order to proceed. Note they must claim embryonic stem cells only come from discarded embryos from IVF treatments. Of course, this does not change the monstrousness of their experimentations, but at least they feel they must keep the deception alive.

In the Wall Street Journal obit, Solomon is quoted as saying, “I’m really comfortable asking dumb questions.”

Well, here’s one. After killing only God knows how many thousands of little human beings and spending hundreds of millions of dollars that could have been spent in other ways, where are all those treatments and cures that were promised twenty years ago?

If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.

About Austin Ruse 5 Articles
Austin Ruse is the author of four books including Under Siege: No Finer Time to be a Faithful Catholic (Crisis Publications, 2021). He is president of C-Fam, a New York and Washington DC research institute in Special Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council and with the Organization of American States.


      • King Solomon renowned for his wisdom sought to determine the real mother when two women claimed the same baby. This Solomon is the antithesis of the King. He sought truth and to rescue the baby. This Solomon blinded herself to the source of her research which has yielded little. I remember this controversy. The other plentiful source of pluripotent cells are placentas and actually were working better than aborted baby parts. But then again we know because of Daleiden’s PP undercover videos that money was the motivation for the sale of baby body parts. The expense & preservation of collected placentas not morally objectionable as killing babies for their genes. Why pick the one over the other? Was it to break down our consciences? Look at us now. Abortion through birth, infanticide if you’re born despite
        your abortion, the NEA teaching CRT, supports grooming children through sex porn taught from elementary school, shared bathrooms and locker rooms, destruction of women’s sports, gender changing surgeries, parental rights destruction. 2 + 2 = 5. The nonsense is destruction and that is exactly the point.

  1. Had to look it up before commenting, placenta cells are pluripotent. One of the first hypocrisies of science and government I noticed was how quickly the system jumped on board the aborted child cell lines over easily collected placentas. Not at all logical except as we found out from Daleiden’s videos before they were banned, PP makes money on baby parts even though placentas could be obtained for little expense or moral consequences. And, yes, we attack our children on every level. It’s been expanded beyond in utero up through birth and now in pre school, kindergarten, elementary and high school with CRT, sex grooming by LBGQ +++ community, gender surgeries, shared school bathrooms, destruction of women’s sports, the lid that men can become pregnant. 2+2=5. These deceptions are worse than King Solomon’s petitioners. He was seeking truth; the woke/socialists are not. This Solomon is the antithesis of the historic King. Worse in the hunt for biological cures she was blinded to truth that human sacrifice was the price.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Questioning the wisdom of the late Susan Solomon – Catholic World Report – Catholic World Report | RETRATO DEL MUNDO
  2. Questioning the wisdom of the late Susan Solomon Catholic World Report – Catholic World Report – Stem Cell Treatments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.