Supreme Court Denies Appeal in Stem Cell Research Funding Case

The United States Supreme Court has denied the appeal of a case challenging federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research.  President Obama issued an executive order in 2009 that lifted a ban on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research and the National Institute of Health (“NIH”) issued guidelines for conducting such research.  Two physician researchers sued the Department of Health and Human Services, arguing that the NIH’s research guidelines violated the Dickey-Wicker amendment’s ban on using federal funds for stem cell research in which human embryos are destroyed.  In 2010, an injunction was granted to stop the funding, however the injunction was later lifted. Essentially, because the research at issue did not involve the destruction of embryos to obtain the stem cells, the research was not prohibited by the Dickey-Wicker amendment.  The stem cells in the research at issue were obtained from pre-existing embryos left over from fertility treatments.  As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision not to take the case, the NIH’s research guidelines will remain in effect.  

The case is Sherley v. Sebelius (12-454).  Read more here and here.

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