American Humanists decry stem cell research ruling

  • post Type / General news
  • Date / 24 August 2010

injunction by a federal judge has put federally funded stem cell
research on hold across the US, compromising the progress of vital medical
breakthroughs, the American Humanist Association (AHA) said today. U.S.
District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled on Monday that funding of stem
cell research violates a federal ban on taxpayer dollars going towards
the destruction of embryos.

ruling is a step backwards for science, a likely disruption to important
research, and this will cause real harm to many in need of medical
innovation,” said David Niose, president of the American Humanist
Association, who pointed out that the case was brought by a Christian
adoption agency whose executive director is on record as seeking to
impose a conservative Christian view on national stem cell policy. “The
injunction appeases religious conservatives who seek to have their
theological opinionsdefine public policy. Thus, this is just another
example of how the obstructionist agenda of the religious right has real
social consequences.”

cited language of the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, the ban on tax-funded
destruction of embryos, as “ambiguous,” declaring projects involving any
means of destroyed embryos illegal. This injunction compromises Obama’s
2009 executive order to lift the stem cell research ban implemented by
the Bush Administration. Stem cell research has been on the forefront of
treating diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, spinal
cord injuries and other debilitating afflictions. Lamberth’s ruling
leaves the future of many such federally funded research endeavors

decision to expand stem cell funding had the potential to make a
positive impact on medical research,” said Niose. “Halting these efforts
is to essentially deny suffering patients an opportunity to recover.”

is in support of any bill that seeks to strip the Dickey-Wicker
Amendment of its prohibition against the use of stem cells for
scientific research. As stated in an AHA Resolution in 2006, “The
American Humanist Association supports research employing embryonic stem
cells and federal funding for such research commensurate with its
potential to advance scientific knowledge and lead to the development of
novel therapies. Further, we encourage the development of ethical
guidelines for such applications through the use of reason rather than
religious or political doctrine.”

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