Appeals Court Rules Embryonic Stem Cell Research Can Continue

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. ruled yesterday to allow the Obama administration to continue funding embryonic stem cell research while the Department of Justice appeals Judge Royce Lamberth’s decision preventing it.

Fox News is reporting that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit lifted the ban on the controversial research while the case is appealed. Judge Lamberth ruled last month that President Obama’s executive order allowing the research was in violation of a federal law that prohibits the use of taxpayer funds for any research that involves the destruction of human life. White House lawyers appealed the ruling and are asking for a temporary stay on Judge Lamberth’s decision to halt all research while the case is being appealed. 

While ordering both sides to file their briefs by Sept. 20, the Appeals court made it a point to say in their three-paragraph order that yesterday’s move “should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits” of the Justice Department’s motion.

Lisa Hughes, president of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, says her organization is very pleased that the appeals court has taken the step.

“It is crucial that federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research be restored permanently and this stay is a step in that direction,” Hughes said in a statement. “While this issue continues to be argued in the courts, we call on Congress to move swiftly to resolve this issue and secure the future of this important biomedical research.”

Opponents of the unethical research are calling the decision “a step backward” that moves the scientific community further away from the more successful research in adult stem cell therapy.

“Federal money should be targeted where it can make a positive difference, and embryonic stem cells don’t meet that standard,” said Family Research Council president Tony Perkins. “By re-opening the door to funding human embryonic research, the court is opening up taxpayer funds to create an incentive to create and destroy more human embryos for their stem cells. This decision only diverts scarce resources away from stem cell treatments that are helping people now, for diseases such as spinal cord injury, diabetes, leukemia, blindness and heart disease. American patients should not be lining up to visit Germany for a heart stem cell treatment, while the government continues to pour money into embryonic stem cell research that not only is unethical, but has not treated a single human being.”

He called upon the Court to “at least move swiftly to deny the Department of Justice appeal, and that federal taxpayer funds will be diverted toward lifesaving adult stem cells.”

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