Science & Technology Law

Appeals Court Lifts Injunction, Allows Federal Funding for Stem Cell Research

A federal appeals court has lifted a preliminary injunction that had banned federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is a victory for the Obama administration and supporters of the research, report CNN and the Associated Press.

At issue is a 1996 law that bars the use of taxpayer money in the creation or destruction of human embryos for research purposes. Last year, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth issued an injunction, ruling that embryonic stem cell research funded by the National Institutes of Health likely violated the law because it amounted to destruction of embryos.

In a 2-1 decision (PDF), the appeals court said the law was ambiguous and the National Institutes of Health made an apparently reasonable decision when it concluded the research was permissible under the law. The NIH is funding research on batches of cells reproduced from cell lines that were developed with private money, AP says.

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