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CLEAR­ING THE WAY / A U.S ap­peals court’s rul­ing means fed­eral fund­ing will be al­lowed for em­bry­onic stem-cell re­search.

Tax­payer funds will con­tinue to flow to em­bry­onic stem-cell re­search with the re­ver­sal of a rul­ing that thwarted the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s at­tempt to get around a 1996 ban. A panel of the U.S. Court of Ap­peals for the District of Columbia de­cided 2-1 to over­turn a judge’s Au­gust 2010 or­der that blocked fed­eral fi­nanc­ing of re­search that in­volved de­stroy­ing em­bryos in or­der to ob­tain stem cells. U.S. District Judge Royce Lam­berth had ruled that the use of such funds should stop pend­ing the res­o­lu­tion of a law­suit al­leg­ing the re­search vi­o­lates a ban on re­search in­volv­ing em­bryo de­struc­tion. Obama is­sued an ex­ec­u­tive or­der in March 2009 mak­ing fed­eral fund­ing avail­able for re­search in­volv­ing stem cells de­rived from em­bryos cre­ated for in-vitro fer­til­iza­tion, and there­fore not cre­ated and de­stroyed specif­i­cally for the pur­pose of re­search. 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. The ap­peals court rul­ing al­lows fund­ing to con­tinue while the lower court con­sid­ers the law­suit, brought by two sci­en­tists who al­lege Obama’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der il­le­gally steers fund­ing away from their re­search us­ing adult stem cells.

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