Monday August 23, 2010

U.S. Court Halts Obama Admin Stem-Cell Research Guidelines

By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 23, 2010 ( – A U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Columbia has intervened to block regulations issued by the Obama administration expanding embryo-destructive research.

Pro-life researchers and Nightlight Christian Adoptions, a group that encourages adoption of frozen embryonic children, filed the suit last year. Judge Royce Lamberth had ruled in June that the group has standing to sue over the guidelines that the National Institutes of Health developed for taxpayer-funded research that would involve the destruction of living human embryos.

The newly-expanded research was made possible by an executive order signed by President Obama in March 2009.

The plaintiffs argue that the new guidelines clearly violate a provision in U.S. law (known as the Dickey-Wicker amendment) that prevents taxpayer monies from funding research in which embryos “are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death.”

In the opinion issued Monday, Lamberth ruled that the Dickey-Wicker language was unambiguous, contrary to the arguments of lawyers with the Department of Health and Human Services, and that the NIH guidelines violated the “plain language of the statute.”

“ESC [embryonic stem-cell] research is clearly research in which an embryo is destroyed,” wrote Lamberth. “To conduct ESC research, ESC must be derived from an embryo. The process of deriving ESCs from an embryo results in the destruction of the embryo. Thus, ESC research necessarily depends upon the destruction of a human embryo.

“Despite defendants’ attempt to separate the derivation of ESCs from research on ESCs, the two cannot be separated.”

Critics have pointed out that, aside from destroying tiny human lives, ESC research has resulted in virtually no therapeutic benefit and has been outstripped by breakthroughs in adult stem-cell research, which has yielded dozens of cures and benefits for previously untreatable illnesses.

See related coverage:

Calif. Quietly Shifts Fruitless Embryo Research Funds to Adult Stem Cells

Fed Appeals Court Green Lights Suit Against HHS over Funding Embryonic Research

“Embryos are Humans” Says U.S. Government Report on Stem Cell Research

Adult Stem Cell Treatment Leaves College Student Free of Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

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