By Gardiner Harris, NYT
WASHINGTON — A federal district judge on Monday blocked President Obama’s 2009 executive order that expanded embryonic stem cell research, saying it violated a ban on federal money being used to destroy embryos.
The ruling came as a shock to scientists at the National Institutes of Health and at universities across the country, which had viewed the Obama administration’s new policy and the grants provided under it as settled law. Scientists scrambled Monday evening to assess the ruling’s immediate impact on their work.
In his ruling, Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia wrote that his temporary injunction returned federal policy to the “status quo,” but few officials, scientists or lawyers in the case were sure Monday night what that meant.
The judge ruled that the Obama administration’s policy was illegal because the administration’s distinction between work that leads to the destruction of embryos — which cannot be financed by the federal government under the current policy — and the financing of work using stem cells created through embryonic destruction was meaningless. In his ruling, he referred to embryonic stem cell research as E.S.C.
“If one step or ‘piece of research’ of an E.S.C. research project results in the destruction of an embryo, the entire project is precluded from receiving federal funding,” wrote Judge Lamberth, who was appointed to the federal bench in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan.
In other words, the neat lines that the government had drawn between the process of embryonic destruction and the results of that destruction are not valid, the judge ruled.
“We do not want to see stem cell research that would destroy embryos,” Mr. Stoddart said. “Embryos are preborn human life that should be protected and not destroyed. If there was a way of extracting the stem cells without destroying them, I would not be opposed to it.”
Mr. Stoddart said he would be surprised if the judge’s ruling led to a complete ban on embryonic stem cell research. Rather, he said his group hoped the government’s policy would return to the balance struck by President Bush.
For the full article see: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/24/health/policy/24stem.html
Someone should call Congressman Bart "Backslider" Stupak and tell him that the Obama language in the Healthcare Bill regarding abortion is about as valuable as the Obama language Judge lamberth has defined as "meaningless."