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Second Opinion

Learn about policy issues important to medical schools and teaching hospitals, with Executive Vice President Atul Grover, M.D., Ph.D.

Washington Highlights

Supreme Court Denies Human Embryonic Stem Cell Appeal

January 11, 2013—The Supreme Court Jan. 7 refused to hear the appeal from plaintiffs seeking to stop the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from funding embryonic stem cell research.

The plaintiffs, led by James Sherley, M.D., Ph.D., of the Boston Biomedical Research Institute and represented by an anti-abortion legal group, on Oct. 11, 2012 filed the appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, contending that the NIH Stem Cell Guidelines violate the so-called Dickey-Wicker provision that bans federal funding of embryo research in the annual NIH appropriations bill.  They also contended that the Administrative Procedures Act was violated when the NIH Guidelines were issued.

A panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the plaintiff’s claims in August 2012, as did a lower court in 2011.  The decision by the Supreme Court not to hear the appeal ends the case, which was first filed in August 2009.

AAMC President and CEO Darrell Kirch, M.D., issued a Jan. 7 statement concerning the Supreme Court’s stem cell decision.  He said, “The AAMC applauds the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling not to review lower court decisions allowing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund human Embryonic Stem Cell (hESC) research. This is good news for patients. Research using hESCs conducted under rigorous ethical standards continues to offer great promise in the search for cures and treatments for a variety of intractable diseases. With the legislative, regulatory, and legal barriers cleared, we hope the promise of hESC research can now be realized.”

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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.


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For More Information

Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806
Email: jkleinman@aamc.org