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.