- Thune: Downed fighter jets show more evidence of separatist capabilities
- Obama tells DNC fundraising crowd: ‘I’m not overly partisan’
- Chambliss: Downed jet ultimately goes back to Putin
- Perdue strategy: Run against Reid, Obama, Pelosi
- White House: More changes to contraception mandate coming
- ‘Operation Normandy’ set to send 3,500 volunteers to border to ‘stop an invasion’
- Netanyahu’s spokesman: Safe to fly to Israel
- Oregon vandals smear cars with doughnuts, pastries, chocolate bars
- Obama’s ‘Katrina moment’ leaves his favorability factor at 42 percent
- Feds tout nearly 200 arrests, $625K in seized cash in Texas border crackdown
Justices refuse challenge to stem-cell policy
Scientists free to use funding
Question of the Day
The Supreme Court said Monday that it would not hear a case challenging the Obama administration’s guidelines on embryonic stem-cell research.
The move is certain to delight scientists who are eager to win grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to explore cures for disease using a broader range of embryonic stem-cell lines. But it disappoints pro-life groups and others who see such research as immoral or ineffective.
Congress passed legislation in 1996 “to ensure that Americans don’t pay any more precious taxpayer dollars for needless research made irrelevant by adult stem-cell and other research,” said Steven H. Aden, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). “We had hoped the U.S. Supreme Court would uphold [the law’s] clear intent.”
ADF was one of the legal-defense groups representing plaintiffs Dr. James L. Sherley and Theresa Deisher, both scientists whose research uses only adult stem cells.
Their lawsuit, Sherley v. Sebelius, revolved around the 1996 Dickey-Wicker amendment, which prohibits taxpayer funding for research that destroys, discards or harms a human embryo. The law has enabled private companies, which do not take federal funds, to become leaders in embryonic stem-cell research.
In 2001, the George W. Bush administration eased the policy, permitting federally funded researchers to use embryonic stem-cells derived from some 60 already existing stem-cell lines.
When President Obama took office, he soon rescinded the Bush policy and asked for the Department of Health and Human Services to craft ethically responsible guidelines that would lead to more government-funded embryonic stem-cell research. The new regulations, for instance, permitted researchers to use stem cells from frozen human embryos donated for research by couples who were using fertility clinics.
The two scientists claimed that these regulations violated the 1996 law, and hurt them because it reduced access to federal grants among scientists like themselves who use only adult stem cells. The court dismissed that claim without comment.
In addition to the two plaintiff scientists, the Sherley case was of great interest to embryo-adoption agencies, families who have given birth to “snowflake” children from donated frozen embryos, and pro-life groups that object to destruction of human life.
A flurry of court rulings ended with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dismissing the case, in favor of the government.
The Supreme Court’s decision Monday means that federal funding will flow to researchers for the foreseeable future.
Many scientists think embryonic stem cells can be manipulated in ways that will cure such maladies as spinal-cord injuries and Parkinson’s disease.
Pro-life groups and their allies counter that adult stem cells are a proven way to develop treatments, and a process using “induced pluripotent stem cells,” which doesn’t involve human embryos, is also likely to be a superior route to find cures.
Separately, the Supreme Court also denied consideration of a lawsuit over Federal Election Commission (FEC) rules on advocacy campaigns.
In 2008, a small nonprofit group named the Real Truth About Obama (later renamed the Real Truth About Abortion) had planned to run two ads critical of Mr. Obama’s pro-choice record on abortion. However, the group felt “chilled” in its fundraising plans because it thought it would be deemed a political action committee, and be subjected to a federal investigation and donor-disclosure rules.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.
Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...
- JAMA opinion piece calls for ending lifetime ban on blood donation by gay men
- HIV rate drops in U.S. for most groups; percentage for young gay, bisexual men up
- VH1's 'Naked Dating' outrages parents group
- Justina Pelletier talks to Republican lawmakers
- EEOC aims to stop discrimination against pregnant women
Latest Blog Entries
- Gay therapy ban author seeks Calif. House seat
- Transgender 'bathroom law' gets 5,000 more signatures
- Pro-life, stem-cell bill signed into law by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback
- N. Dakota lawmakers approve tough abortion bill
- Pope Benedict XVI's successor should allow priests to get a new title: Husband, poll finds
TWT Video Picks
Retailer pays a price for getting too close to Obama
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down
- David Perdue defeats Jack Kingston in Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff
- HURT: The cost of 'free' water in Detroit
- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies
- DEACE: How to go from civil rights icon to bigot in one quote
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq