A U.S. District Court judge ruled Monday that federal funds cannot be used for stem cell research, blocking President Obama’s 2009 executive order allowing federal funding.
Congresswoman Diana DeGette responded to the ruling immediately with this statement:
“Today’s ruling from the U.S. District Court is deeply disappointing, as it once again delays groundbreaking treatment and even cures for the millions of patients and their families clinging to the hope of embryonic stem cell research. We strongly disagree with the judge’s ruling because, by definition, embryos and stem cells are two entirely different organisms. Today’s ruling is the case of one judge ignoring the scientific fact that research on pluripotent stem cells is not the same as research on an embryo.”
DeGette, a Democrat, represents Denver’s CD1 in the United States House of Representatives. Chief Deputy Whip in the House, DeGette has made stem cell research one of her signature issues.
“Our nation already lost valuable time over the last decade, when we could have been bringing our massive resources and expertise to bear, expanding stem cell research and helping 100 million American patients living with devastating and debilitating diseases. President Obama’s executive order last year opened a door to hope and promise for those patients, and today, Judge Lamberth has sadly once again closed that door. Today’s ruling underscores why we must pass common-sense embryonic stem cell research legislation, placing these regulations into statute and once and for all, ensuring this critical life-saving research can be conducted for years to come, unimpeded by political whims or naysayers.”
Nationally, scientists are scrambling to find ways to continue their research without running afoul of the law. “This ruling means an immediate disruption of dozens of labs doing this work since the Obama administration made its order,” Dr. George Q. Daley told The New York Times. Daley is director of the stem cell transplantation program at Children’s Hospital Boston.
The Times says this ruling may be more restrictive even than rules put in place by former President George W. Bush, and may eliminate all stem cell research in the United States.