Human Life Advocates will file a class-action lawsuit on behalf of eight separate agencies against recent National Institutes of Health regulations on stem cell research. A related lawsuit was filed earlier this week by Nightlight Christian Adoptions. The lawsuits claim that the government’s new regulations on federally funded stem cell research violate a 1995 law that bars federal funds from being used for the creation of human embryos solely for research purposes. The new policy, however, does not authorize NIH-funded research projects to develop and destroy embryos to harvest stem cells, the building blocks for all human tissue. Instead, the regulation allows scientists to use federal funds to conduct research on stem cells obtained from private agencies that have patient permission. These cells could revolutionize treatments for degenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s other conditions that disproportionately affect women.
The California-based Nightlight Christian Adoptions, which allows infertile couples to “adopt” embryos left over from other couple’s fertility treatments, claims that NIH-funded stem cell research would reduce the number of “adoptable embryos.” The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families estimated in January 2000 that there are 117,000 children in foster care in the United States waiting to be adopted. Of the 118,000 children in foster care waiting to be adopted in 1999, 50 percent were black.*