U.S. Supreme Court Refuses Case to End Taxpayer Funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research


Supreme CourtWashington, D.C. – The United States Supreme Court has to refused to hear a case seeking to end taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research, allowing a lower court ruling to stand on the matter.

In 2009, two scientists filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration, alleging that the destruction of human embryos violated the Dickey/Wicker Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer money from being used to pay for research that harms a human life. Shortly after taking office, Barack Obama had reinstated the funding, which had been rescinded by George W. Bush during his tenure.

In October of that same year, the district court in D.C. threw out the challenge, but a court of appeals later ruled that the case deserved to be heard.

“We conclude the two Doctors have standing …. The Dickey-Wicker Amendment clearly limits the funding of research involving human embryos,” the D.C. Circuit wrote. “Because the Act can plausibly be interpreted to limit research involving ESCs (embryonic stem cells), the Doctors’ interest in preventing the NIH from funding such research is not inconsistent with the purposes of the Amendment.”

For a time, federal district court Judge Royce Lamberth put a freeze on funding while the case moved forward.

“[Embryonic stem cell]  research is clearly research n which an embryo is destroyed,” he wrote in his initial ruling.

However, when an appellate court overturned the injunction, opining that the government had done no wrong, Lamberth felt bound to follow the appellate court decision and rule against the scientists that had filed the challenge.

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The case then went back to the D.C. Circuit, where it was again struck down. Attorneys filed with the nation’s highest court following the ruling, who decided today that they would let the lower court ruling stand and not hear the case.

Alliance Defending Freedom, who has been arguing on behalf of the scientists, along with Samuel B. Casey of the Jubilee Campaign’s Law of Life Project and Tom Hungar of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP, issued a statement today about the Supreme’s Court’s refusal to consider the issue.

“Americans should not be forced to pay for experiments that destroy human life, have produced no real-world treatments, and violate federal law — especially in burdened fiscal times like these. Congress designed a law to ensure that Americans don’t pay any more precious taxpayer dollars for needless research made irrelevant by adult stem cell and other research,” attorney Steven Aden stated. “That law is clear, and we had hoped the U.S. Supreme Court would uphold its clear intent.”

“As a consequence, the American people are now strapped with having to pay millions of dollars for embryonic stem cell research which has not yet given us a single therapeutic cure and which of course offends the conscience of at least half if not more of Americans who do not want to see their research dollars used to kill one human being in order to hopefully find some cure for another one,” added Samuel B. Casey of the Jubilee Campaign’s Law of Life Project .

Instead of using researching embryonic stem cells, many doctors and scientists prefer the use of adult stem cells, which reportedly have been promising in helping to treat a number of diseases.

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