DC Circuit overturns preliminary injunction barring NIH funding of human embryonic stem cells research

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on May 1, 2011

U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, James Sherley v. Kathleen Sebelius, April 29, 2011: “GINSBURG, Circuit Judge – Two scientists brought this suit to enjoin the National Institutes of Health from funding research using human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) pursuant to the NIH’s 2009 Guidelines. The district court granted their motion for a preliminary injunction, concluding they were likely to succeed in showing the Guidelines violated the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, an appropriations rider that bars federal funding for research in which a human embryo is destroyed. We conclude the plaintiffs are unlikely to prevail because Dickey-Wicker is ambiguous and the NIH seems reasonably to have concluded that, although Dickey-Wicker bars funding for the destructive act of deriving an ESC from an embryo, it does not prohibit funding a research project in which an ESC will be used. We therefore vacate the preliminary injunction.”

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