Pro-life groups laud decision to block embryonic stem cell research

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the defedant in the lawsuit
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the defedant in the lawsuit

.- Pro-life groups lauded the decision of a federal court ruling on Monday which prevents the Obama administration from carrying out its embryonic stem cell research policy. One legal fund reacted by saying, the “American people should not be forced to pay for experiments – prohibited by federal law – that destroy human life.”

The ruling comes after the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued new guidelines last year that permitted federal funding for research on stem cell lines that had already been created.

On August 23, however, a federal judge concluded that the policy likely violates a federal law known as the “Dickey/Wicker Amendment.” The amendment has been part of the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services every year since 1996.

The amendment bars federal funding for the creation of a human embryo for research purposes as well as for research in which a human embryo or embryos are “destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death.”

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth temporarily blocked the Obama administration on Monday from using federal dollars to fund expanded human embryonic stem cell research while a lawsuit against the NIH policy – filed last year by the Christian Medical Association (CMA) and Nightlight Christian Adoptions – proceeds.

Pro-life groups praised the ruling on Monday.

The Alliance Defense Fund, which helped represent CMA and Nightlight, saying that the “American people should not be forced to pay for experiments – prohibited by federal law – that destroy human life.”

“The court is simply enforcing an existing law passed by Congress that prevents Americans from paying another penny for needless research on human embryos,” continued ADF Senior Legal Counsel Steven H. Aden. “No one should be allowed to decide that an innocent life is worthless.”

“Experimentation on embryonic stem cells isn’t even necessary because adult stem cell research has been enormously successful,” Aden said. “In economic times like we are in now, it doesn’t make sense for the federal government to use precious taxpayer dollars for this illegal and unethical purpose.”

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins also weighed in on the ruling Monday, saying that the  judge's decision was “a stinging rebuke to the Obama Administration and its attempt to circumvent sound science and federal law, which clearly prohibits federal funding for research that involves the destruction of human embryos.”

“Rather than fund additional embryo-destructive research, the government should focus its resources on adult stem cells that are already improving health and saving the lives of patients with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, spinal cord injury and many other conditions,” he added. “There is great potential in this country for stem cell research and treatments for many diseases, while maintaining ethical standards.”

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