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Supreme Court Will Not Stop Federal Funding Of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Good news out of the SCOTUS:

The Supreme Court refused to step into the emotionally charged debate over embryonic stem cell research Monday, declining to hear a case that sought to stop government funding on ethical grounds.

The decision leaves in place President Obama’s 2009 executive order expanding research on stem cells taken from human embryos, which many scientists say has the potential to produce breakthroughs in treatment of numerous conditions, particularly spinal cord injuries, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

Obama reasoned that research on stem cell lines from embryos created through in vitro fertilization was not ethically problematic. Congress banned the creation or destruction of embryos for research purposes in 1996.

A federal court in Washington, D.C., issued an injunction temporarily blocking the order in August 2010 after two scientists opposed to all embryonic stem cell research, James Sherley of the Boston Biomedical Research Institute and Theresa Deisher of Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute, sued on behalf of “plaintiff embryos,” contending that Congress had forbidden any research whatsoever on embryonic stem cells.

Since then, federal courts have rejected their contention that the failure of the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Health and Human Services to respond to their arguments rendered Obama’s policy illegal.

The Court made no comment in denying review of Sherley v. Sebelius. I suspect opponents of embryonic stem cell research will not be so taciturn. But until they start lobbying to outlaw IVF, there is simply no credible justification for their opposition.


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