The brief order from the justices is a victory for supporters of federally funded testing to combat a range of diseases and illnesses. Federal courts had previously lifted an injunction on continued funding, and this latest high court action probably means the lawsuits will be ultimately dismissed.
The field of embryonic stem cell research has been highly controversial, because in most cases, the research process involves destroying the embryo, typically four or five days old, after removing stem cells.
These cells are blank and can become any cell in the body. Because of the destruction of embryos, most opponents believe this is a moral issue. Supporters of the research point to the potential for saving lives.
Legislation passed in 996 prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars in the creation or destruction of human embryos “for research purposes.”Privatemoney had been used to gather batches of the developing cells at U.S.-run labs. That congressional ban had been renewed annually.
The current administration had broken with the Bush White House and issued rules in 2009 permitting those cells to be reproduced in controlled conditions and for work on them to move forward.
Obama administration officials have been at odds with many members of Congress over whether the National Institutes of Health research causes an embryo’s destruction, as prohibited by the Dickey-Wicker Act.
In opposing the lawsuit, the government had argued that an extensive list of research projects outlined by the government health research agency would have to be shelved if the courts blocked further funding.
Some scientists say that embryonic stem cells could help treat many diseases and disabilities because of their potential to develop into many different cell types in the body.
In 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia lifted an injunction originally issued by a federal judge, who said, at the time, that all embryonic stem cell research at the research agency amounted tothedestructionofembryos,inviolationof