Meredith Wadman’s article on NatureNews explores why Obama has not yet lifted the ban on federal funds for human embryonic stem cell research. Some say that he’s preoccupied with the economic crisis; others that the Administration feels simply reversing the executive order isn’t enough, and so new legislation is required. One worry: the Dickey-Wicker amendment, which predates the Bush funding ban, might be interpreted to prohibit funds for the research. This legislation, which has been renewed yearly ever since its enactment in 1995, prohibits the use of federal funds that create or destroy embryos. Many legal scholars doubt it would apply to research on cells after the embryos have been derived, but the concern is real.
For more reading, see my news round-up last week.
Also see advice that advocacy groups offered Obama on stem cell research. The group American Progress, in particular, offered strong advice to have hES research supported by Congressional legislation.
Finally, see our comparison between how hES research policy has developed in Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States.