The Obama administration appealed a U.S. court ruling that halted federal funds for embryonic stem- cell research, seeking an emergency order to restore government support while a higher court considers its arguments.
Justice Department lawyers made the filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, a day after U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth in Washington rejected the government’s request to reconsider his ruling enforcing the ban pending an appeal. The government claims Lamberth’s order is causing irreparable harm to researchers, taxpayers and scientific progress.
Lifting the ban would allow the government to continue funneling tens of millions of dollars to scientists seeking cures for diseases such as Parkinson’s, spinal cord injuries, and genetic conditions. Because embryonic stem cells can grow into any kind of tissue, they have the potential to accelerate new treatments.
Lamberth on Aug. 23 issued an order temporarily stopping the Health and Human Services Department and the National Institutes of Health from conducting or funding the stem-cell studies. The judge cited the still-in-force 1996 Dickey-Wicker Amendment in his ruling, saying that Congress had prohibited funding any research in which a human embryo was destroyed. By implication, that included all stem-cell research, Lamberth said.
The case is Sherley v. Sebelius, 09-cv-1575, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, and 10-5287, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (Washington).
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