The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear a lawsuit challenging the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research (ESCR), which pro-life leaders charge destroys human life. Two scientists had filed suit against the government, arguing that the funding, resumed by President Obama through executive order after the Bush Administration's long-term ban on the funding, violates the 1996 Dickey-Wicker Amendment, which bars federal funding of research “in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death.”
LifeNews.com reported that in August 2010, “U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth ruled that Obama's executive order likely violates the law against federal funding of embryo destruction.” But, in April 2011, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that Obama could resume funding of the research. That decision prompted a dismissal of the suit by Lamberth, who said he had no other option given the appeals court ruling.
In August of this year, the D.C. Appeals court upheld that dismissal, siding with the earlier ruling of the three-judge panel that the Dickey-Wicker Amendment is ambiguous, and could be interpreted to ban the use of the initial embryonic stem cells, but not the subsequent cells derived from the stem cells. “Under that interpretation,” wrote the appeals court in its August 24 ruling, “Dickey-Wicker permits federal funding of research projects that utilize already-derived ESCs — which are not themselves embryos — because no 'human embryo or embryos are destroyed' in such projects.”
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