Appeals Court Rules Taxpayer Money Can Fund Embryonic Research


On April 29th, a federal appeals court ruled that President Obama can use taxpayer money to fund embryonic stem cell research despite the fact it destroys a unique human life.  This decision repeals an August 2010 preliminary injunction that stopped all taxpayer funding for embryonic research.  Pro-Life activists and organizations need to spread the truth about embryonic stem cell research and continue the battle to prevent tax money from funding this destructive science.

President Obama has a long history of promoting embryonic stem cell research.  A few months after becoming president, Obama overturned the protections that President Bush had implemented to protect taxpayers from having to fund new embryonic research.  Obama also overturned an executive order from President Bush that funded embryonic stem cell research alternatives.  There was an immediate legal reaction from the Pro-Life community against Obama’s actions.

Pro-Life lawsuits argued that Obama’s executive orders violated a 1996 law known as the Dickey-Wicker amendment.  This law prohibits the federal government from using taxpayer money to destroy embryos in the name of scientific research.  The Obama administration argued that private funds were used to destroy the embryo and taxpayer funds were used for the remainder of the research.  In August 2010, Judge Royce Lamberth ruled Obama’s orders did violate the Dickey-Wicker amendment and he imposed a preliminary injunction on all federal funding of embryonic research.  Judge Lamberth wrote, “Embryonic stem cell research is clearly research in which an embryo is destroyed.”  

The Obama administration was quick to appeal this injunction, and a three judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington overturned Judge Lamberth’s order in a 2-1 vote.  Two of the justices believed the Dickey-Wicker amendment had not been violated because of possible interpretations of the words “research” and “embryo” within the law.  The dissenting opinion by Justice Henderson argues that the logic for the decision centers on “linguistic jujitsu” rather than interpretation of the law.

The good news for the Life community is that this battle is not over yet.  Judge Lamberth only ordered the injunction, and has yet to issue his decision on the merits of the original lawsuit.  This means that if he allows, the lawsuit can continue in the court system conceivably all the way to the Supreme Court.  Pro-Life attorneys are also looking into the option of asking the Court of Appeals to reconsider the preliminary injunction’s merits en banc, which would require all 13 judges on the court to hear and rule on it.  Both of these options provide an opportunity for this important issue to remain in the legal system.   

Besides continuing with the legal battle, Pro-Lifers need to spread the truth about the ineffectiveness of embryonic stem cell research.  To date, there has been no successful treatment using embryonic stem cells.  In fact, embryonic stem cells have been shown to have immune system rejection issues and cause tumor growth in animal studies.  However, adult stem cell work has been successfully used in human treatments for spinal cord injury, heart damage, and blindness without any ethical concerns.  Please continue to work for the spread of adult stem cell research, and the end to the life-destroying practice of embryonic stem cell experiments. 

For more information on the court’s decision:$file/10-5287-1305585.pdf


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