KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Federal Appeals Court Rules NIH Can Continue To Fund Stem Cell Research

The Wall Street Journal: "A federal appeals court said Tuesday the Obama administration can continue to fund embryonic stem-cell research, reversing for the time being a trial judge's injunction barring the funding. The one-page order by a three-judge panel of the U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the administration met the legal standard for a stay of the injunction, but didn't discuss the case in detail. The White House welcomed the order, which extends a temporary action by the appeals court on Sept. 9. It noted that President Barack Obama made stem-cell funding by the National Institutes of Health a top priority shortly after taking office" (Kendall, 9/29).

The Washington Post: "The decision stays a temporary injunction issued on Aug. 23 by Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court in Washington. Lamberth said the funding violated the Dickey-Wicker law, which bars federal funding of research that involves the destruction of human embryos. ... During Monday's hearing, Justice Department attorney Beth Brinkmann argued that the injunction would result in 'irreparable harm' to the National Institutes of Health because researchers could lose crucial experiments and scientific materials" (Stein, 9/29).

The Associated Press: "A 1996 law prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars in work that harms an embryo, so batches have been culled using private money. But those batches can reproduce in lab dishes indefinitely, and the Obama administration issued rules permitting taxpayer dollars to be used in work with the already-created batches. The administration thus expanded the number of stem cell lines created with private money that federally funded scientists could research, up from the 21 that President George W. Bush had allowed to 75 so far" (Pickler, 9/28).

Los Angeles Times: "Two scientists had challenged the Obama administration's stem cell funding policy, which was designed to expand federal support of the controversial research. The policy allowed the use of stem cell lines derived from frozen embryos no longer needed for fertility treatments that were donated according to strict ethical guidelines" (Savage, 9/29). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.