A court has enjoined the federal government from funding embryonic stem cell research under the Obama policy, as it most likely violates the Dickey Amendment. The Dickey Amendment is a budgetary law passed each year that bars federal funding of destructive research on embryos. Bill Clinton sought to get around the law by requiring the actual destruction to be privately paid for, and then funding ESCR thereafter, knowing that the scientists would destroy the embryos in anticipation of funding. So did the Obama policy. But the court, apparently, isn’t buying.
Considering the great progress being made with adult stem cells, you've got to wonder at the persistence of ESC research promoters. Defining human life down seems to be the goal.
The newly-expanded research was made possible by an executive order signed by President Obama in March 2009.
The plaintiffs argue that the new guidelines clearly violate a provision in U.S. law (known as the Dickey-Wicker amendment) that prevents taxpayer monies from funding research in which embryos "are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death."
In the opinion issued Monday, Lamberth ruled that the Dickey-Wicker language was unambiguous, contrary to the arguments of lawyers with the Department of Health and Human Services, and that the NIH guidelines violated the "plain language of the statute."
"ESC [embryonic stem-cell] research is clearly research in which an embryo is destroyed," wrote Lamberth. "To conduct ESC research, ESC must be derived from an embryo. The process of deriving ESCs from an embryo results in the destruction of the embryo. Thus, ESC research necessarily depends upon the destruction of a human embryo.
"Despite defendants' attempt to separate the derivation of ESCs from research on ESCs, the two cannot be separated."
Critics have pointed out that, aside from destroying tiny human lives, ESC research has resulted in virtually no therapeutic benefit and has been outstripped by breakthroughs in adult stem-cell research, which has yielded dozens of cures and benefits for previously untreatable illnesses. [emphasis added]
Back to Wesley Smith:
No doubt, there will be an appeal. But if Obama decides not to yield, this could go to the Supremes. In any event, this ruling could set up a big fight in Congress next year over whether to continue the Dickey limitations. Buckle your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
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