A federal court has halted the Obama administration expansion of stem cell research. The judge found last year’s executive order to be in violation of the 1996 Dickey Wicker Amendment. The federal law states no federal funds to be used in any research that harms or destroys human embryos, according to Wisconsin Right to Life Legislative Director Susan Armacost, who says they are pleased by the ruling.
Timothy Kamp of the UW Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center says the judge’s ruling is more restrictive than what former President Bush put in place a decade ago. Bush banned federal funds to develop new embryonic stem cell lines but he allowed funding for cell lines which existed at the time. And private funding of embryonic research was still allowed. But Kamp says Monday’s ruling could affect all those studies and he’s not sure if he’ll have to stop projects that have already been funded. He said he would wait for guidance from the National Institutes of Health.
Right to Life favors stem cell research that does not involve destroying embryos. Armacost says all success have come from these alternative methods.
The White House has responded to the ruling. Spokesman Bill Burton saying it carries the potential to block “critical, life-saving research.”