VICTORY: Federal court strikes down Obama embryonic stem cell funding guidelines

August 23, 2010 at 8:22 PM 5 comments

Dorinda C. Bordlee, Bioethics Defense Fund,, (504) 231-7234

August 23, 2010. Bioethics Defense Fund (BDF) attorneys applauded a federal ruling today that struck down the Obama embryonic stem cell (ESC) funding guidelines.  “We congratulate the scientists and their attorneys who had the vision to bring this important legal challenge to the immoral Obama policy of using public funds to destroy human embryos,” said BDF President Nikolas T. Nikas.  

Recognizing that the current Congress could change the provision relied on by the court to strike down the Obama policy, Nikas encouraged states legislatures to consider enacting complete prohibitions on embryonic stem cell research and human cloning similar to the BDF-drafted bill recently enacted in Arizona.

In today’s federal ruling, the court enjoined the Obama embryonic stem cell guidelines on the grounds that they violate an annual budget rider known as the Dickey-Wicker Amendment.  In his opinion, Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia wrote:

“The Dickey-Wicker Amendment is unambiguous. It prohibits research in which a human embryo is destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subject to risk of injury or death greater than that allowed under applicable regulations. The [Obama] Guidelines violate that prohibition by allowing federal funding of ESC [embryonic stem cell] research because ESC research depends upon the destruction of a human embryo.” 

 BDF Senior Counsel Dorinda C. Bordlee said, “Human life should never be treated as raw material for science experiments — and failed experiments at that, since embryonic stem cells have never been used to help even one patient.  The federal court’s ruling demonstrates a clear understanding of the congressional intent, as well as the basic biological fact that human embryonic stem cell research destroys human embryos.” 

Law in the Service of Life: Because of current efforts in Congress to defeat the life-protective Dickey-Wicker Amendment, Nikas and Bordlee encourage state legislators and policy-makers to contact BDF about their model legislation to ban embryonic stem cell research and human cloning, as recently enacted in Arizona.  BDF provides pro bono drafting consultation, legislative education, and testimony. 

BDF Resources:




  • BDF’s background on the 2009 Obama policy of funding human embryo research despite breakthroughs in iPSC research that creates stem cells without destroying human embryos.


Entry filed under: Human Cloning, Human Embryos, Uncategorized.

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