Judge blocks Obama administration stem cell funding, Jewish groups angry

A couple of Jewish groups have weighed in – angrily – on the federal judge who blocked the Obama administration’s decision to fund embryonic stem cell research.

Obama acted in 2009 after legislation that would allow federal stem cell funding was vetoed twice by former President George W. Bush. Christian groups filed suit against the Obama guidelines, saying it would result in the destruction of human embryos.

The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) “deplored the August 23 ruling by US District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth declaring that the current rules governing embryonic stem cell research likely violate federal law,” according to a statement.

Lamberth was appointed to the federal bench by former President Ronald Reagan.

NCJW president Nancy Ratzan said the order “is a setback to potentially life-saving research already under way. The rules carefully crafted by the Obama Administration were designed to avoid conflict with existing law while maintaining the highest ethical standards of medical research. The embryos in question would otherwise be legally destroyed. It is not clear that even the previous rules devised by the Bush Administration would pass muster under Judge Lamberth’s theory of the law.”

B’nai B’rith International, a group that has increased its focus on health care for the elderly in the past few years, said the decision “may cause confusion and troubling delays in research that could potentially change the lives of adults with degenerative illnesses and conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and spinal cord injuries.”

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.