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Court Stops Fed Funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

By Jason Beahm on August 24, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth has temporarily stopped federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Lamberth granted a preliminary injunction Monday, ruling that the research destroys embryos, going against the will of the U.S. Congress. The ruling is a setback for President Obama. The Obama administration issued guidelines last year to detail how embryonic stem cell research could be conducted and allowed federal funding for the research. Obama issued a 2009 executive order repealing President G.W. Bush's prohibition against using federal dollars for human stem cell research.

However, Judge Lamberth found that the embryonic stem cell research being conducted destroys embryos, which violates an amendment included in the federal spending bill called the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, which "unambiguously prohibits the use of federal funds for all research in which a human embryo is destroyed ... Thus, if ESC research is research in which an embryo is destroyed, the guidelines, by funding ESC research, violate the Dickey-Wicker Amendment," Lamberth ruled, CNN reports.

Embryonic stem cell research has been a lightening rod for controversy on religious, moral, philosophical, medical, spiritual and ethical grounds. Some medical researchers believe that embryonic stem cells hold massive potential for treating many diseases and disabilities. However, CNN reports that many conservative groups object to embryonic stem cell research as they believe the embryos represent human lives, which are being destroyed in the research.

The government is expected to appeal, although they have not announced the details of any appellate strategy. According to Justice Department spokeswoman, Tracy Schmaler the decision is being reviewed.

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