A federal court ruled yesterday against a lawsuit filed in part by a Seattle scientist who sought to restrict federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research.
Under former President George W. Bush, the federal government was restricted from using taxpayer dollars to fund research using new lines of stem cells developed from embryos destroyed after 2001. In 2009, after President Obama reversed that decision, Seattle researcher Theresa Deisher, founder of AVM Biotechnology (as in "Ave Maria"), and Boston scientist James Sherley filed a lawsuit fighting the reversal.
A year earlier, Deisher told the National Catholic Register that she supports research that uses adult stem cells. What she objects to is research derived from aborted fetuses, a practice she likened to Nazi medical experiments.
"It would be like using the research results on hypothermia from Nazi Germany that involved murdering people," she said.
Embryonic stem-cell research is an extremely controversial and complicated issue. Scientists in favor think it could help lead to improved treatments, or even cures, for illnesses ranging from Alzheimer's to Parkinson's. And polls show that a majority of Americans support such research.
In her lawsuit, Deisher argued that any new lines of stem cells developed from fetuses destroyed after 2001, when Bush's order went into effect, shouldn't be used in new federally funded projects. Her argument was rejected by Judge Royce Lamberth, who agreed with a previous appeals court ruling that scientists can use new lines of stem cells so long as they're developed using private funds.
We left a message for Deisher, but haven't yet received a response.