White House Mulls Response To Judge’s Stem Cell Ruling

The White House said on Tuesday that it was reviewing how to respond to a federal judge’s ruling that temporarily blocks federal financing for embryonic stem cell research, as stunned advocates and lawmakers sought to digest the implications of the decision. The administration has interpreted the temporary injunction, issued by the judge on Monday, as putting a stop to all federally financed research using embryonic stem cells, Bill Burton, the White House deputy press secretary, told reporters. That includes studies that were approved during the administration of former President George W. Bush, whose guidelines for such work were far more restrictive than those issued by President Obama last March. “The president said very plainly when he laid out his stem cell policy that this is important, potentially lifesaving research that could have an impact on millions of Americans and people all around the world,” Mr. Burton said. “He thinks that we need to do research. He put forward stringent ethical guidelines, and he thinks that his policy is the right one.” Representative Diana DeGette, Democrat of Colorado and an outspoken champion of the research, said she briefed fellow Democrats about the situation during a conference call Tuesday morning. She called for Congress to revive a measure, twice passed and twice vetoed by President Bush, that would essentially codify the rules that President Obama put into place in March 2009. Enacting that bill would eliminate the judge’s reason for issuing the injunction, that the expansion of stem cell research under the new guidelines violated a ban on federal money being used to destroy embryos. “This court opinion hit everybody by surprise,” Ms. DeGette said in a telephone interview from Colorado. “It calls all of these policies of the last 10 years into question. I think what it really underscores is the extreme urgency for Congress to act to codify ethical embryonic stem cell research.” But Representative Mike Pence, Republican