“But right now there’s no Bush policy to refer to. It was canceled out,” he added, saying President Obama would have to consider what is possible within the law or would have to support an effort to change the law.
Doerflinger said that proponents of embryonic stem cell research have not passed legislation allowing the research funding because there is “uncertainty” about whether such legislation is necessary since the court decision is unresolved.
“This court case is going to wend its way through the system for some time to come. So they don’t know whether they even need to go through that battle.”
He added that the “lame duck” congressional session will end soon and other “must-pass” bills have top priority.
“So they’re tending to edge out any action on embryonic stem cells.”
Anna Franzonello, staff counsel for Americans United for Life, told CNA on Dec. 9 that her organization is “hopeful” that Judge Lamberth’s decision will be upheld.
She similarly credited the legislative failure to a political climate in which economic issues are more prominent. She also referred to a Rasmussen poll which reported that 57 percent of likely voters opposed using their tax dollars for the research.
“It’s not a secret that embryonic stem cell research has not been successful, but adult stem cell research has,” she continued. “People are concerned about money going to things that are effective and not failed policies.”
Opposing the research is “sound ethics” but also “sound policy from a fiscal standpoint as well.”
She acknowledged the possibility that the failure of embryonic stem cell research is resonating with members of Congress and the Obama administration.
“Even people who used to support embryonic stem cell research have come out and said it is not necessary, and actually obsolete,” Franzonello continued. She named former National Institutes of Health director Bernardine Healy as one person who has reconsidered the need for the research.
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Doerflinger noted that there will be increased pro-life voting margins in both the House and the Senate in the next Congress. There will be “a decent chance” of stopping House legislation that would fund the research.
“Our hope is that if the courts do the right thing and read this legislation the way it was intended, we can then stop any new legislation from coming in and changing the law to reinstate the funding of destructive research.”
He added that the ethical issues involved in the research are hard for many people to appreciate because the embryos are at an early stage of development and their creation in a laboratory has a “depersonalizing” effect.
“But the fact is that each of us was once an embryo just that small,” he said. “The educational challenge is to help people to get past their aesthetic feelings and to a real appreciation of the truth about the beginning of human life.”