A U.S. appeals court ruled Friday that the Obama administration can use federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, a decision that overturns a judge's order last year and hands the White House a major victory.
In a 2-1 decision, the court said that opponents of taxpayer-funded stem cell research are not likely to succeed in a lawsuit to stop it.
The ruling reversed an opinion last August by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, who said the research likely violates the law against federal funding of embryo destruction.
The 1996 law prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars in work that harms an embryo, so private money has been used to cull batches of the cells. Those batches can reproduce in lab dishes indefinitely, and the Obama administration issued rules permitting taxpayer dollars to be used in work on them.