(Adds White House; previous VINEYARD HAVEN, Mass.)
By Jeremy Pelofsky and James Vicini
WASHINGTON Aug 24 The Obama administration
will appeal a judge's ruling that temporarily barred federal
funding of embryonic stem cell research, the U.S. Justice
Department said on Tuesday.
The administration will ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for
the District of Columbia Circuit to lift the preliminary
injunction which was issued on Monday, Justice Department
spokesman Matthew Miller said.
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth issued the injunction
after determining that the two doctors who challenged the
administration's policy would likely succeed because U.S. law
blocked federal funding of embryonic stem cell research that
involved destroying embryos.
The White House said it was exploring "all possible
avenues" to ensure such research could continue.
"The president said very plainly when he laid out his stem
cell policy that this is important, potentially life-saving
research that could have an impact on millions of Americans and
people all around the world," White House deputy spokesman Bill
Burton told reporters in Massachusetts, where President Barack
Obama is on vacation.
"He thinks that we need to do research. He put forward
stringent ethical guidelines and he thinks that his policy is
the right one," Burton said.
In 2001, then-President George W. Bush said he could only
allow federal research money to pay for work done using a few
batches of the powerful cells, which can give rise to all the
tissues and cells in the human body.
Obama reversed Bush's stand with an executive order in
2009. Burton said the injunction also may stop the research
allowed by Bush's policy.
The appeals court has already dealt with the case once.
Judge Lamberth threw out the lawsuit challenging the Obama
administration's policy last year because he did not find that
the parties had the legal right to sue over it. But the appeals
court in June disagreed and reinstated the case.
The doctors, who opposed embryonic stem cell research, were
seeking grants to fund their work on adult stem cells and
argued that the new policy on embryonic stem cells harmed their
ability to win federal research money.
The injunction issued on Monday affects only federally
funded research, not private research.
Embryonic stem cells come from days-old embryos and can
produce any type of cell in the body. Scientists hope to be
able to use them to address spinal cord injuries, cancer,
diabetes and diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Opponents of human embryonic stem cell research say it is
wrong, usually for religious reasons, to damage or destroy a
(Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle, Editing by David