The Obama administration’s funding of stem-cell research will continue, thanks to a ruling by a federal court that quashes a lawsuit challenging the funding. Yesterday, i.e. on 27th July, Wednesday, the lawsuit brought by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, chief of the Washington federal court, was dismissed by the US Circuit Court of Appeals in response to an appeal by the Obama Administration. The primary claim of the lawsuit was that the National Institute of Health violated the 1996 Dicky-Wicker law that prohibits the public funding for research involving harming human embryos.
Stem Cell and Its Funding by the Bush and Obama Administrations
Stem Cell research has the potential to find cures for many diseases of the nervous system, like Parkinson’s disease. Further, cures to diseases like cancer might also be found.
President Bush allowed stem cell research and provided funding, but limited the amount of public funds available. Most of the research was funded privately. With this lawsuit being quashed, the Obama administration has removed the barriers on public funding.
Only yesterday were we talking about fund cuts across all disciplines of science by the US here and today comes some good news.
The controversy surrounding stem cell research arises from the fact that human embryos are needed for the research. However, the embryos used for research are those which are already destroyed, like those obtained from fertility clinics, and those which will be destroyed in the near future. The options of donating the embryos to infertile women etc. are placed in front of couples willing to donate their unwanted embryos for scientific purposes.
It’s prudent to end with the words by Obama’s scientific adviser, Stephanie Cutter:
For too long, patients and families have suffered from debilitating, incurable diseases and we know that stem cell research offers hope to millions of Americans across the country. President Obama is committed to supporting responsible stem cell research and today’s ruling was another step in the right direction.
It is truly a step in the right direction.