President Obama reversed the Bush administration's eight-year ban on federally funded embryonic stem cell research Monday.
"Our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values," the President said when announcing the move.
He promised strict ethics rules, as well as a firewall separating science from ideology.
President Obama drew the line at human cloning, calling it "wrong and dangerous".
That's little comfort to right-to-life advocates.
"Human embryo-destroying stem cell research is not only unethical, unworkable and unreliable, it is now demonstrably unnecessary," said New Jersey Representative Chris Smith after the announcement.
Dr. David Prentice of the Family Research Council agrees.
"The adult stem cells are already treating thousands of patients for dozens of different diseases and this is documented by published science."
The presidential order provides hope to millions facing myriad life threatening conditions, from cancer to parkinson's disease to paralysis.
That hope comes too late for Henry Strongin Goldberg.
He died at age 7 from a rare bone marrow disease.
His parents say the reversal gives hope to others.
"We understand the pain of losing a child, and today we feel there's hope for all these other families so that they don't have to experience that incredible loss that Allen and I experienced in Henry's death," said Laurie Strongin.
Federally funded research won't happen overnight.