The Justice Department has appealed the injunction levied by Judge Lamberth of the D.C. District Court that would negate President Obama’s executive order, issued in 2009, that repealed President Bush’s order of 2001, barring Federal funding of research on embryonic stem cells (ESCs) except on a few lines. In my previous post, I reviewed some of the history of these executive orders. Repealing the Obama order has thrown the ESC research community into turmoil, as it is not even clear if research permitted under the restrictive Bush order can be funded, or even continued. This is because the basis for the Judge’s order is his belief that the Obama order conflicts with the Congressional amendment, renewed each year, that absolutely bars the use of Federal funds to support research that would destroy human embryos, even those that would be discarded by fertility clinics with the permission of all of the parties involved in their “creation.”
The best hope is probably the legislative fix proposed by Representative Diana DeGrette, who was able to get a bill permitting funding for ESC research passed by the House and the Senate twice during the Bush years. Each time, the President vetoed it. She has stated that she intends to offer the bill again, and hopes for (relatively) quick passage this fall.