Today, Congressman Scott Murphy (NY-20) released the following statement after a Federal court judge issued a temporary ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, which could help find new treatments or cures for a variety of diseases and ailments:
"Yesterday's ruling was extremely disappointing, and will set us back. Stem cell research represents the true promise that scientific research can give us in combating new and existing diseases, and in advancing our society. All across Upstate New York, almost every single family has a member who has suffered from diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer's or multiple sclerosis. That's why it is absolutely critical that we continue to support funding that will enable scientists to continue their research into treating these diseases."
Stem cells have the unique ability to differentiate, or to become another type of cell. Stem cell researchers hold that their work promises new treatments or even cures for a variety of ailments, including Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, diabetes, severe burns, and spinal cord injuries.
On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth issued a temporary ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, stating that President Barack Obama's executive order expanding this research violated established federal law.
Congress previously banned federal funding of research in which a human embryo would be "destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury" under the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, first passed in 1996 and renewed every subsequent year. In 2001, Former President George W. Bush further limited human stem cell research with an executive order that restricted research to existing stem cell "lines,' cells already extracted from embryos. These rules were effectively overturned by President Obama in March 2009, when he signed an executive order allowing for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. This new ruling, however, halts all such federal research, even on existing lines.