On Tuesday, September 28, 2010, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order extending their previous decision to allow federal funding for human embryo destructive research to continue. This “stay pending appeal,” like the panel’s previous decision, is temporary. The court will continue to consider the government’s appeal of U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth’s August 23rd preliminary injunction halting the use of federal funds for human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research. Judge Lamberth found that federal funding of research on stem cells derived from destroyed human embryos violates federal law.
Judge Lamberth is also moving forward with his consideration of the underlying case – whether the National Institute of Health’s July 2009 stem cell guidelines violate federal law. If Judge Lamberth again finds that the guidelines violate federal law, he will issue a permanent injunction to block federal funding for hESC research. This decision will likely be appealed all the way to the United States Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, September 30th, scientists announced new progress in creating stem cells without the use of human embryos. This life-affirming method of creating induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, is receiving praise from the scientific community and further demonstrates how embryo destructive research is not only morally wrong, but medically unnecessary.