United States: the Supreme Court rejects without justifying its ruling an appeal aimed at prohibiting the funding of research on the embryo

Publié le : 15 January 2013

 On Monday 7 January "the Supreme Court of the United States refused to consider a lawsuit brought to challenge research on embryonic stem cells, thus de facto allowing the American government to continue to fund scientific programmes in this field."       

The lawsuit rejected without justification was brought by two researchers working with adult rather than embryonic stem cells who appealed to the Supreme Court to ban "the federal funding authorised previously by a federal appeals court." Their case was that "this funding contravenes federal law that prohibits the creation and destruction of embryos for purposes of scientific research."
In the United States, federal funding of research on the embryo was prohibited during the government of George W. Bush. In 2009, soon after he came to office, the new president, Barack Obama, lifted these restrictions. As a result, "the funding of such research by the National Institutes of Health was then authorised on frozen embryos provided after the abandonment of anti-fertility treatments." Subsequently, in 2010, "a federal judge issued a veto […], ruling that the destruction of human embryos for purposes of scientific research could not be authorised" and then in 2011 this ruling was overturned by a federal appeals court in Washington which ruled that "the ban on federal funding did not apply to already existing embryos derived from in vitro fertilization."

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