STEM CELL RESEARCH BAN LIFTED
RIOT IN STEM CELL BLOCK NUMBER 666:
Those claiming "religious" objections to stem cell research
have been slapped down by the mighty hand of the courts.
By E.J. Gauthier
(CNS) WASHINGTON - - Christopher Reeve would be proud.
The late actor and stem cell research activist would have greatly enjoyed the major ruling of a U.S. appeals court today, stating that any opponents of taxpayer-funded stem cell research are not likely to succeed in any lawsuits to ever prevent it.
In its 2-1 decision, the U.S. court of appeals panel in Washington overturned a judge's opinion from last August that would have permanently blocked taxpayer funding for stem cell research. The previous judge had claimed that this type of research "likely" violates a law against federal funding of embryo destruction.
Well, it ain't "likely" anymore - now it's downright unlikely. The 1996 law, which the previous judge referred to, had prohibited the use of taxpayer dollars in work that harms an embryo, so private money had been used to cull batches of the cells. However, since 1996, several other forms of synthetic embryos have been developed, which made the old law a moot point, anyway.
Such batches can reproduce in lab dishes indefinitely, and now the Obama administration has issued rules permitting taxpayer dollars to be used in work on them.
The White House praised the decision. Nicholas Papas, a White House spokesman, said, "Today's ruling is a victory for our scientists and patients around the world who stand to benefit from the groundbreaking medical research they're pursuing."
Researchers hope one day to use stem cells in ways that cure spinal cord injuries, Parkinson's disease and other ailments.
"We're thrilled with this decision and look forward to allowing federally funded scientists to continue with their work without political constraints," said Sean Tipton, a spokesman for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
Opponents had predictably wanted to block such measures, touting their usual uncivilized and backward attitude of "let's not play god." One can easily imagine what would have happened to every disease-curing scientist throughout history if each time he produced a success, it was turned down for use by society at large because it was an example of "playing god."
Plus, even engaging in the bible-thumping fantasy world for a moment, isn't some "god" actually responsible for making such research possible in the first place? Since a "god" can do everything, one such "deity" could easily have hidden from scientists all such curative possibilities, and any avenues to them, from day one!
And now back to reality: Several threats of lawsuits, counter suits, court opinions, funding maneuvers, etc., have come and gone since 2001 when the stem cell debate really heated up, but attempting to fill in the background on all that here would be a huge waste of time and print space.
So we've mainly concentrated on this most recent decision, and hopefully it will also be the last. Now go ahead and cure stuff, stem cell dudes!
Mr. Reeve would have wanted it that way.