Taxpayer funds will continue to flow to human embryonic stem cell research following Friday's reversal (PDF) of a federal district court that had upheld a 1996 ban.
Court rules in favor of stem cell research funding
A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia decided 2-1 to overturn a judge's August order that blocked federal financing of research that involved destroying embryos in order to obtain stem cells.
The panel reversed an opinion issued in August 2010 by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, who blocked a the use of such funds while he considers a lawsuit that maintains the research violates a 1996 federal barring federal funds for research involving embryo destruction. The appeals court stayed the decision during its review of his injunction.
The White House and some congressional Democrats praised the ruling.
“My hope is that the legal wrangling ends here,” Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said in a written statement. “Because if the last few years have proven anything, it is that our fight to preserve funding for stem cell research—one of the most promising areas of medical research available today—must continue.”
Some researchers believe stem cells from embryos eventually may lead to breakthroughs that help heal certain injuries and ailments.
The 2009 lawsuit filed by two scientists maintained that the 1996 law prohibiting taxpayer dollars in work that harms an embryo barred the Obama administration from issuing rules that year permitting the use of taxpayer dollars in such research.
The appellate ruling will allow the original lawsuit to resume and allow taxpayer funding for such research to restart.
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