Stem Cell Research
Americans Support Stem Cell Research
Do you favor or oppose expanding federal funding for research using embryonic stem cells?
Source: A Research!America poll of U.S. adults conducted in partnership with Zogby Analytics in January 2015.
Research!America's Policy Position:
Former President George W. Bush permitted federal funding for embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) only if the stem cells were obtained from a limited number of previously existing stem cell lines. In 2009, President Barack Obama issued an executive order expanding the opportunities for federally funded ESCR by permitting the use of embryonic stem cells other than those obtained from the previously designated stem cell lines. However, legislation to protect this expansion in research opportunities has not been signed into law, giving future administrations the discretion to curtail or eliminate federally funded stem cell research.
Current federal policy on stem cell research:
In the 113th Congress, Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO-01) and Charlie Dent (R-PA-15) sponsored H.R. 2433, also known as the Stem Cell Research Advancement Act, which would codify the stem cell rules established under President Obama’s executive order, preventing future administrations from unilaterally restricting or eliminating federal funding for stem cell research. The legislation would permit funding for research on stem cells derived from embryos produced, but ultimately not used, for in vitro fertilization. There was no companion Senate bill.
On August 23, 2012, in a decision favorable to proponents of embryonic stem cell research, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld a lower court ruling dismissing a lawsuit that challenged the Obama administration’s expansion of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
The Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal in an announcement on January 7, 2013. The announcement allows the decision of the appeals court to stand.
The 114th Congress has not taken further action to overturn or to affirm President Obama’s executive order, but the debate continues in the states. In Oklahoma, at the beginning of February 2015, a bill banning all embryonic stem cell research cleared committee for consideration by the full House. The Oklahoma legislature had approved a similar bill in 2009, but failed to override the governor’s veto.