Magazine article The Christian Century

Christian Groups Cheer Halt to Stem Cell Funding

Magazine article The Christian Century

Christian Groups Cheer Halt to Stem Cell Funding

Article excerpt

Conservative Christian groups won a major victory recently when a Washington judge halted federal funding of embryonic stem cell research to allow a suit challenging the practice as illegal to go forward.

The suit, filed by a group of doctors and the nonprofit agency Nightlight Christian Adoptions, says federal funding of embryonic stem cells limits the number of fertilized embryos the agency can make available to couples seeking to "adopt" them from fertility clinics. The suit also says the practice violates a 1996 law prohibiting federal funding for research in which embryos are "destroyed, discarded or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death."

President Obama lifted restrictions on federal funding in March 2009, and the National Institutes of Health issued ethical guidelines for the research four months later. However, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, who had initially dismissed the suit, said August 23 that the research and the NIH guidelines clearly violate the 1996 law.

Embryonic stem cell (ESC) research "is clearly research in which an embryo is destroyed," Lamberth wrote. "To conduct ESC research, ESCs must be derived from an embryo. …

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