Victory for stem-cell research: Court backs Obama's guidelines
Federal funds can support research using human embryonic stem cells, ruled a D.C. district court Wednesday. Two scientists had sued President Obama and the NIH in efforts to overturn their regulations.
A federal judge on Wednesday upheld the Obama administration’s position in a long-running battle over the scope of federal funding for human embryonic stem-cell research.Skip to next paragraph
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The new NIH guidelines invalidated restrictions imposed by former President George W. Bush and significantly expanded federal funding options for a wider range of stem-cell research projects, as favored by President Obama.
Stephanie Cutter, an assistant to Mr. Obama, called the judge’s ruling “another step in the right direction.”
“We know that stem-cell research offers hope to millions of Americans across the country,” Ms. Cutter wrote on a White House blog.
“We are elated at Judge Lamberth’s ruling,” said Lisa Hughes, president of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research.
“This ensures the science will continue to move forward without the impediment of ideologically based challenges,” she said in a statement.
Lawyers for the two scientists said they are weighing their options for an appeal.
“Americans should not be forced to pay for experiments that destroy human life, have produced no real-world treatments, and violate federal law,” said Steven Aden, senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund.
“In these tough economic times, it makes no sense for the federal government to use taxpayer money for this illegal and unethical purpose,” Mr. Aden said in a statement.
Research that uses human embryonic stem cells is controversial and has split US public opinion. Supporters say it could open the way for major medical breakthroughs. Opponents see it as a form of abortion, as an embryo (typically four to 32 cells) is destroyed in the creation of a stem-cell line.
At the center of the debate is the question: to what extent can federal funds support research that is linked to the destruction of human embryos?