(CN) – A federal judge has blocked President Obama’s order expanding embryonic stem cell research because it violates a Congressional order that bans using federal money to destroy embryos. The Obama administration has promised to appeal.
The Dickey-Wicker Amendment, a law passed each year by Congress, forbids federal financing of any “research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed.”
The Obama administration earlier this year allowed financing of stem cell research on cells created by privately donated embryos after fertilization, and maintained that its policy was legal.
But U.S. District Royce Lamberth didn’t buy the administration’s explanation that its policy followed the rules on the grounds that federal money would be used after the cells were created and not to pay for the procedure that destroys embryos.
“Despite defendants’ attempt to separate the derivation” of stem-cell destruction from research on those stem cells, “the two cannot be separated.”
He added that because research involves “multiple steps does not mean that each step is a separate ‘piece of research’ that may be federally funded, provided the next step does not result in the destruction of an embry.”
Two stem cell scientists, Dr. James Sherley and Dr. Theresa Deisher, Nightlight Christian Adoptions, “embryos” and others filed suit last year to prevent the administration’s policy, Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research, from taking effect. The lawsuit was dismissed because plaintiffs lacked standing.
The Court of Appeals reversed, finding that researchers would face increased competition for federal funding.