The Associated Press has reported that U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth will allow a nonprofit group, Nightlight Christian Adoptions, to bring its lawsuit in the courts, effectively blocking, at least temporarily, expansion of embryonic stem cell research funding by the Obama administration.
The FDA has approved the testing of treatments using embryonic stem cells on humans. California-based Geron Corporation will test the use of embryonic stem cells on adults paralyzed by spinal injuries.
In 2009, when President Barack Obama rescinded President George W. Bush’s restrictions on the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research through the National Institutes of Health, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) noted that, “The federal government, for the first time, will spend taxpayers’ money to encourage the destruction of living human beings to obtain research material.”
As the Pennsylvania Bishops explain in Questions and Answers on Stem Cell Research, “Government funding would further encourage researchers to destroy human embryos. We must oppose the use of our tax dollars for research that involves the destruction of human life. ”
In the encyclical Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II wrote, “it must nonetheless be stated that the use of human embryos or fetuses as an object of experimentation constitutes a crime against their dignity as human beings who have a right to the same respect owed to a child once born, just as to every person.”
While embryonic stem cell treatments have not been associated with any successful cures, there are numerous successful treatments attributed to adult stem cell therapy.
According to a report in the National Catholic Register, a Seattle adult stem-cell researcher, Theresa Deisher, has sought an injunction against the expansion of federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research. Ms. Deisher and others contend that funding for embryonic stem cell research violates the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, which prohibits research grants that would cause abortions.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has ruled that Ms. Deisher has standing, and the case will go back to district court were arguments will be heard.
For more information on stem cells, see Stem Cells Q & A.