obama escr funding exec order.jpgBackdrop: On March 9, 2009, President Barack Obama issued an executive order lifting President Bush’s August 9, 2001, statement banning federal funding of new human embryo stem cell lines.
As an important aside, Obama’s last action in his EO was (click to enlarge)…

obama exec order stem cell adult.png
Obama overturned Bush’s EO 13435, which had encouraged taxpayer funding of “ethically responsibile” adult stem cell research. Obama didn’t want ascr to continue to wildly surpass embryonic stem cell research on his watch.
In August 2009 2 pro-life adult stem cell researchers and 2 pro-life groups filed a federal lawsuit to 1st enjoin and then overturn Obama’s EO. In December a federal court judge kicked the lawsuit out of court, saying the plaintiffs had no standing.
Our side filed an emergency appeal, and the big news is that last Friday, June 25, the DC Federal Court of Appeal reinstated the case, stating the 2 researchers (but not the 2 groups) indeed had standing as potentially being adversely financially impacted by Obama’s EO.
james sherley.jpgIn fact, only last month NIH denied an ascr grant to 1 of the plaintiffs, Dr. James Sherley (pictured right), formerly of MIT and now a scientist with the Boston Biomedical Research Institute. The Court mentioned this denial in its decision.
Pro-lifers may recognize the name of the other plaintiff in the case, Dr. Theresa Deisher, who I’ve previously reported is conducting research on a possible link between autism and the aborted fetal DNA contained in certain childhood vaccines. She’s certainly busy!
The lawsuit contends the NIH is violating a 1995 law banning taxpayer funding of research that injures or destroys human embryos. The Dickey-Wicker Amendment, as it is called, must be renewed annually but is still currently in force. The NIH tried to get around Dickey-Wicker by funding everything but human embryo destruction, which our side calls “pure sophistry” because NIH guidelines “necessarily condition funding on the destruction of human embryos.”
The lawsuit also contends NIH violated the Administrative Procedures Act when implementing escr funding guidelines. An NIH rep has admitted, for instance, NIH ignored the overwhelmingly negative comments it received opposing taxpayer funding of escr.
I spoke with the lawsuit’s lead attorney, Sam Casey, over the weekend. He said if the government waives its right to a rehearing, it is possible we could see a preliminary injunction ordered against NIH funding of escr by the end of July. If the government does not, it could be the end of August. Either victory would be huge.
According to Reuters on June 26, “The Obama administration could ask the full appeals court to reconsider the case or file an appeal to the US Supreme Court. A Justice Dept. spokesman said they were reviewing the decision and declined further comment.”
Meanwhile, the Democrat-controlled Congress could overturn Dickey-Wicker, although its recess is coming shortly, and this is an election year. At any rate, although such a move would solve NIH’s 1st problem, it wouldn’t solve NIH’s APA problem.
Those interested in the merits of the lawsuit can read Advocates International’s press release.
[HT: Claude]

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