August 10, 2011

Stem Cell Decision in Federal District Court

In the ongoing dispute over whether embryonic stem cell research can be supported with funds from the federal government, a federal district court has ruled that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) can fund this work. The District Court for the District of Columbia issued its ruling in a challenge by two researchers opposed to the policy. The plaintiffs had argued that the existng Dicker-Wickey amendment, passed by Congress in 1995, which prohibits the funding of “research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed” should be interpreted to exclude embryonic stem cell research. The court disagreed, reasoning that NIH had the discretion to characterize the stem cell research as distinct from any research in which embryos are actually destroyed, thus avoiding the Congressional prohibition. Stem Cell Decision Dist. D.C. 2011

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