Obama Administration Sued to Stop Tax-Funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 9, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Obama Administration Sued to Stop Tax-Funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
October 9
, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A coalition of pro-life advocates including two scientists, two families, an adoption agency and the Christian Medical Association have banded together to file a lawsuit against the Obama administration in an effort to stop the expected taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research.

The suit is a response to President Barack Obama’s decision earlier this year to overturn the protections the Bush administration put in place preventing funding of research that involves the destruction of human life.

World magazine indicates the pro-life advocates have sued the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on behalf of unborn children who would be destroyed in the research funded by the departments.

They want to stop the expected $92 million that could be funneled from taxpayer funds to embryonic stem cell research, which has never helped human patients and has yielded significant problems in studies with animals.

"This case raises the central question of whether Congress does or does not want to fund the destruction of human embryos," pro-life attorney Samuel Casey of Advocates International told World.

The Alliance Defense Fund and the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher are also helping the clients involved in the lawsuits.

There are two suits and both make similar cases that the Obama order to force taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research violates the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, a federal law that prohibits federal funding of scientific studies that destroy human life.

Specifically, the 1995 law stops tax-funding of "(1) the creation of a human embryo or embryos for research purposes; or (2) research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death."

Because President Bush’s policy prohibited funding any new research destroying human life, he was able to pay for research using older embryonic stem cells.

"[The Obama policy] encourages you to develop an embryonic stem cell line that does not exist now," Casey told World. So now we’re in court to find out what Dickey-Wicker means—again."

The lawsuit also alleges that the NIH violated administrative rules when it wrote the guidelines for implementing Obama’s decision after allowing only 34 days of public comment — instead of the customary 60 days — and publicly admitted ignoring 30,000 of the 49,000 public comments from people who opposed the funding.

Nightlight Christian Adoptions, which has helped facilitate adoptions of frozen embryos who are implanted and a pregnancy carried to term, is also involved in the lawsuit.

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