Science Wins Out Over Religion (Barely)

by Ben Hoffman

WASHINGTON — A divided federal appeals court has ruled that opponents of taxpayer-funded stem cell research are not likely to succeed in a lawsuit to stop it.

In a 2-1 decision Friday, the panel of the U.S. court of appeals in Washington overturned a judge’s order that would have blocked taxpayer funding for stem cell research.

The panel reversed an opinion last August by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, who said the research likely violates the law against federal funding of embryo destruction.

The 1996 law prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars in work that harms an embryo, so private money has been used to cull batches of the cells. Those batches can reproduce in lab dishes indefinitely, and the Obama administration issued rules permitting taxpayer dollars to be used in work on them.

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