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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

US Court Rules Against Obama Admin Policy And Grants Preliminary Injunction Against Stem Cell Research

The ruling itself can be found here.

The injunction will halt federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research with the judge citing that the research would destroy the embryo which goes against the Dickey-Wicker Amendment that clearly bans the use of federal funds to destroy human embryos.

As one of his first acts after taking office, Obama overturned that decision and the NIH set up a careful process for deciding which batches of human embryonic stem cells could be used by federally funded researchers.

The new guidelines do not allow the use of federal dollars to create the stem cells but do allow researchers to work with them if they are made by another lab.

Dr. James Sherley of Boston Biomedical Research Institute and Theresa Deisher of Washington-based AVM Biotechnology, who both work with adult stem cells and oppose the use of human embryonic stem cells, filed the original suit saying the guidelines violated the law and would harm their work by increasing competition for limited federal funding.

"The Obama administration has attempted to skirt the law by arguing that they are only funding research after the embryos are destroyed," said Charmaine Yoest, head of the Americans United for Life group. "Today's sensible ruling reconfirms what we already knew, that administration policy is in violation of the law."

The Obama administration can appeal or rewrite the law to conform with the Amendment already on the books. The justice department is reviewing the ruling by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth and declined to comment further on what their next move will be.

Simply because ESC research involves multiple steps does not mean that each step is a separate “piece of research” that may be federally funded, provided the step does not result in the destruction of an embryo. If one step or “piece of research” of an ESC research project results in the destruction of an embryo, the entire project is precluded from receiving federal funding by the Dickey-Wicker Amendment.

More from Washington Post, Reuters and Dow Jones Newswires.