On the 27th October 2009 a United States court dismissed a case brought forward by Dr James L. Sherley, Dr Theresa Deisher, Nightlight Christian Adoptions (“Nightlight”), Embryos, Shayne and Tina Nelson, William and Patricia Flynn, and the Christian Medical Association (“CMA”). According to court documents, the plaintiffs sought to prevent The National Institutes for Health’ Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research from taking effect.
(a) declaring that the Guidelines are contrary to law, were promulgated without observing the procedures required by law, and constitute arbitrary and capricious agency action; and
(b) enjoining [d]efendants from applying the Guidelines or otherwise funding research involving the destruction of human embryonic stem cells.”
The Plaintiffs appealed and the Court of Appeals concluded that Dr Sherley and Dr Deisher had standing under the competitor standing doctrine, and a block was placed on federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research. What this means is their case relies on the contention that they are disadvantaged in their effort to get federal research dollars because of illegal competition from embryonic stem-cell researchers. Perhaps tellingly, in its legal filing, the defense noted that Dr. Deisher had never even applied for government research funding.
Director of the National Institutes of Health, Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D: had this to say:
“Human embryonic stem cell research holds great promise for the development of treatments for people threatened by potentially curable diseases. The recent court ruling that halted the federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research could cause irreparable damage and delay potential breakthroughs to improve care for people living with serious diseases and conditions such as spinal cord injury, diabetes, or Parkinson’s disease. The injunction threatens to stop progress in one of the most encouraging areas of biomedical research, just as scientists are gaining momentum—and squander the investment we have already made. The possibility of using these cells to replace those that have been damaged by disease or injury is one of the most breathtaking advances we can envision. Human embryonic stem cells also represent a powerful new approach to the early stages of screening for new drugs, and may hold the secrets to creating entirely new, targeted clinical therapies. We must move forward—without delay—to sustain this field of research that provides so much hope for thousands of patients and their families.”
Much can and undoubtedly will be said for the claims of the two remaining plaintiffs and their motivations. For instance Dr. James Sherley, 52 years old, is no stranger to controversy having staged a 12-day hunger strike in 2007 after the Massachusetts Institute of Technology denied him tenure. Dr. Sherley blamed racism for the rejection, a charge the school denied.
Dr Shirley is also on record as
“…an outspoken critic of human embryonic stem cell research and abortion, because both promote the destruction of innocent human beings.”
Dr Theresa Deisher, 47, is the development director for AVM Biotechnology Company and president of the Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institiute, of which she has said:
“It is our goal to develop human therapeutics that are morally acceptable and compatible with the magisterium of the Catholic Church.”
Dr Deisher is also on record having stated
“vaccines are an obvious potential environmental trigger for autism.”
The following information is taken directly from the NIH Guidelines on Human Stem Cell Research that the two plantiffs are fighting against and is reprinted her for reader to judge for themselves the veracity of claims being made.
For the purpose of these Guidelines, “human embryonic stem cells (hESCs)” are cells that are derived from the inner cell mass of blastocyst stage human embryos, are capable of dividing without differentiating for a prolonged period in culture, and are known to develop into cells and tissues of the three primary germ layers.
Although hESCs are derived from embryos, such stem cells are not themselves human embryos.
For the purposes of this Section II (A), hESCs should have been derived from human embryos:
1. that were created using in vitro fertilization for reproductive purposes and were no longer needed for this purpose;
2. that were donated by individuals who sought reproductive treatment (hereafter referred to as “donor(s)”) and who gave voluntary written consent for the human embryos to be used for research purposes; and
3. for which all of the following can be assured and documentation provided, such as consent forms, written policies, or other documentation, provided:
a. All options available in the health care facility where treatment was sought pertaining to the embryos no longer needed for reproductive purposes were explained to the individual(s) who sought reproductive treatment.
b. No payments, cash or in kind, were offered for the donated embryos.
c. Policies and/or procedures were in place at the health care facility where the embryos were donated that neither consenting nor refusing to donate embryos for research would affect the quality of care provided to potential donor(s).
d. During the consent process, the donor(s) were informed of the following:
i. that the embryos would be used to derive hESCs for research;
ii. what would happen to the embryos in the derivation of hESCs for research;
iii. that hESCs derived from the embryos might be kept for many years;
iv. that the donation was made without any restriction or direction regarding the individual(s) who may receive medical benefit from the use of the hESCs, such as who may be the recipients of cell transplants.;
v. that the research was not intended to provide direct medical benefit to the donor(s);
vi. that the results of research using the hESCs may have commercial potential, and that the donor(s) would not receive financial or any other benefits from any such commercial development;
vii. whether information that could identify the donor(s) would be available to researchers.
You can judge for yourself whether the claims made by the plaintiffs in this case have any merit, but it seems to this observer at least (and I’m confident I’m not alone here) that any embryo used in research never had any chance of becoming human being.
So it seems quite likely then that all of this is nothing more than an yet another minority ideological view being manipulating the court system to the detriment of everyone.
Jayson D Cooke