By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
A federal appeals court in Washington DC has decided to allow government funding of embryonic stem cell research to continue while the case against it is pending in the courts.
The Christian Post is reporting that a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit decided to grant the Obama administration a permanent stay on a district court judge’s order last month to halt federal funding of the controversial research.
The stay was granted after the appeals court temporarily lifted a preliminary injunction issued by Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for Washington, DC who ruled last month that President Obama’s executive order allowing federal funding of embryonic stem cell research violated the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, a 1996 law that prohibits taxpayer funding for any research that damages or destroys human life.
The Obama administration claimed that the funding to date has been used only for research that has not involved the destruction of embryos and said even a temporary injunction could harm ongoing projects.
“Numerous ongoing projects will likely not survive even a temporary gap in funds, jeopardizing both the potential benefit of the research and the hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer funds already invested in it,” the Obama administration said in their arguments.
According to a statement by NIH director Francis Collins, the NIH has invested more than $546 million in federal funds for human embryonic stem cell research since 2001.
Critics of the research say that granting a stay pending an appeal would “flout the will of Congress.”
“This funding violates the plain language of the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, in which Congress prohibits federal funding of ‘research in which’ a human embryo is ‘destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death,’” said Sam Casey, general counsel for Advocates International, one of the groups that argued against federal funding of the research Monday.
The three-judge panel ruled against him, however, but they did agree to expedite the case.
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