Stem Cells, Life, and the Law
A federal court steps into the debate.


But of course, the Obama administration and other champions of embryo-destructive research do not actually share this aim, and have always used the Clinton administration’s clever loophole as mere cover. They do in fact want to encourage the destruction of human embryos for research, and they know that the Obama policy (unlike the Bush policy) would do just that. Judge Lamberth has called their bluff.

If the political climate and schedule were different, we might expect Congress to step in — perhaps with Democrats trying, as they have many times before, to knock the Dickey-Wicker Amendment out of the budget, or with both chambers moving on proposed legislation to fund embryonic-stem-cell research. But given the congressional calendar and the looming election, it is hard to imagine that Congress is going to do either — or much of anything else — during the remainder of the year. For the time being, this issue is one for the courts to decide and so, thanks to the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, the question is not whether human life is worth protecting but whether the government is going to sufficient lengths to protect it. It is a very good question.

– Adam Keiper and Yuval Levin are fellows at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Keiper is the editor of The New Atlantis. Levin is the editor of National Affairs.


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