Obama Signs Law Banning Federal Embryo Research Two Days After Signing Executive Order to OK It

3 Comments

Obama Signs Law Banning Federal Embryo Research Two Days After Signing Executive Order to OK It
Friday, March 13, 2009
By Terence P. Jeffrey, Editor-in-Chief


President Barack Obama (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – On Wednesday, only two days after he lifted President Bush’s executive order banning federal funding of stem cell research that requires the destruction of human embryos, President Barack Obama signed a law that explicilty bans federal funding of any “research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death.”

The provision was buried in the 465-page omnibus appropriations bill that Obama signed Wednesday. Known as the Dickey-Wicker amendment, it has been included in the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services every fiscal year since 1996.

The amendment says, in part: “None of the funds made available in this Act may be used for—(1) the creation of a human embryo or embryos for research purposes; or (2) research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death.”

Found in Section 509 of Title V of the omnibus bill (at page 280 of the 465-page document), the federal funding ban not only prohibits the government from providing tax dollars to support research that kills or risks injury to a human embryo, it also mandates that the government use an all-inclusive definition of “human embryo” that encompasses any nascent human life from the moment that life comes into being, even if created in a laboratory through cloning, in vitro fertilization or any other means.

“For the purposes of this section,” says the law, “the term ‘human embryo or embryos’ includes any organism … that is derived by fertilization, parthenogenesis, cloning, or any other means from one or more human gametes or human diploid cells.” (The entire verbatim text of Section 509 of the omnibus spending law is reprinted at the bottom of this article.)

At a widely publicized White House ceremony on Monday, President Obama signed his own executive order lifting an executive order that President Bush had signed in 2001. While allowing federal funding of research involving embryonic stem cell lines that had already been created from embryos that had already been destroyed, Bush’s 2001 order denied federal funding to research that required the killing of any additional embryos.

“For the past 8 years, the authority of the Department of Health and Human Services, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to fund and conduct human embryonic stem cell research has been limited by Presidential actions,” said the order that President Obama signed Monday. “The purpose of this order is to remove these limitations on scientific inquiry, to expand NIH support for the exploration of human stem cell research, and in so doing to enhance the contribution of America’s scientists to important new discoveries and new therapies for the benefit of humankind.”

The order went on to say: “The Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary), through the Director of NIH, may support and conduct responsible, scientifically worthy human stem cell research, including human embryonic stem cell research, to the extent permitted by law.”

Thanks to the Dickey-Wicker language in Section 509 of the omnibus bill, the “extent permitted by law” will continue to forbid federal funding of research that even puts embryos at risk.

Close observers on both sides of the embryonic stem cell issue were well aware of the Dickey-Wicker amendment, and understood that it would pose a legal obstacle to federal funding of embryo-killing research even if President Obama issued an executive order reversing President Bush’s administrative policy denying federal funding to that research.
The next day, President Obama signed H.R. 1105, the “Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009,” which includes the Dickey-Wicker language. Unless Congress passes and President Obama signs new legislation to repeal Dickey-Wicker, it will now be the law of the land at least through September 30, when this fiscal year ends.

The text of Section 509 of the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009, reads as follows:

SEC. 509. (a) None of the funds made available in this Act may be used for—(1) the creation of a human embryo or embryos for research purposes; or (2) research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death greater than that allowed for research on fetuses in utero under 45 CFR 46.204(b) and section 498(b) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 289g(b)). (b) For purposes of this section, the term ‘‘human embryo or embryos’’ includes any organism, not protected as a human subject under 45 CFR 46 as of the date of the enactment of this Act, that is derived by fertilization, parthenogenesis, cloning, or any other means from one or more human gametes or human diploid cells.

Read entire article at CNS News.com

It’s Starting, Can You Feel it?

4 Comments

The Party may just be starting!!!! Coming to a city near you soon.