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Federal judge dismisses stem cell funding challengecomment (0)

August 4, 2011


WASHINGTON — A federal judge dismissed a legal challenge to government funding of embryonic stem cell research July 27, dealing an unsurprising setback to opponents of the lethal experimentation.

Royce Lamberth, chief judge of the D.C. District Court, ruled in the Obama administration’s favor less than a year after suspending federal funding of embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). Lamberth’s latest decision came after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals removed his preliminary injunction on such grants.

In his new opinion, Lamberth said the appeals court’s April decision “constrains this court,” forcing him to dismiss the lawsuit.

The case involved a challenge to President Obama’s 2009 executive order that overturned a more restrictive funding policy under President Bush. Obama ordered the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to devise guidelines consistent with his decree.

In August of last year, Lamberth found the NIH guidelines violated a law that prohibits federal funds for research in which a human embryo is destroyed. The ability of stem cells to convert to other cells and tissues has provided great hope for developing cures for various diseases, but extracting stem cells from an embryo results in the destruction of the days-old human being.

In September, an appeals court panel of three judges lifted Lamberth’s suspension of ESCR funding while the case went forward. In a 2–1 decision in April, the panel returned the case to Lamberth but virtually killed the challenge.

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