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Appeals court reinstates case seeking to block administration’s embryonic stem cell policy

ADF providing support to lawsuit defending law that prohibits federal funding of embryo destruction
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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reversed the dismissal of a lawsuit Friday that contends that the Obama administration’s embryonic stem cell research policy is in violation of federal law. The law, known as the “Dickey/Wicker Amendment,” prohibits federal funds from being used to destroy human embryos for research purposes.

The Alliance Defense Fund is co-counsel in the case with Samuel Casey of Advocates International. Tom Hungar and Brad Lingo with the firm Gibson, Dunn, and Crutcher, LLC, argued the case, Sherley v. Sebelius, before the D.C. Circuit on April 12 on behalf of doctors opposed to the stem cell research policy, which authorized the National Institutes of Health to fund additional research projects that destroy human embryos.

“No one should be allowed to decide that an innocent life is worthless,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Steven H. Aden. “Although private-sector funding of embryonic stem cell research has been practically unlimited, it has failed to produce results. Furthermore, experimentation on embryonic stem cells isn’t even necessary because adult stem cell research has been enormously successful. In these difficult economic times, why should the federal government use precious taxpayer dollars for this illegal and unethical purpose?”

In Mar. 9, 2009, President Obama rescinded via executive order former President Bush’s executive order that limited federally funded embryonic stem cell research. Gibson, Dunn, and Crutcher, LLC, filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the guidelines governing destructive embryonic stem cell research implemented by the Obama administration in July “were promulgated without observing the procedures required by law.”

On Oct. 27, 2009, a federal district court dismissed the lawsuit, but the D.C. Circuit reinstated it, stating, “We conclude the two Doctors have standing…. The Dickey-Wicker Amendment clearly limits the funding of research involving human embryos.  Because the Act can plausibly be interpreted to limit research involving ESCs [embryonic stem cells], the Doctors’ interest in preventing the NIH from funding such research is not inconsistent with the purposes of the Amendment.”

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.