August 26 2010, 9:05 AM
There is a "new urgency" to pass legislation allowing "ethical-based" embryonic stem-cell research, says Congresswoman Diana DeGette, in the wake of a ruling by a federal judge that has effectively barred the research. The practice had been allowed in an executive order by President Barack Obama, but U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth says the research violated a law prohibiting federal funding from being used to destroy embryos (via 9News). "For most members of Congress, it's not really a political calculation as much as a realization that this research has been pretty halted by this court decision, and we need to act quickly to reverse that," says DeGette, a Denver Democrat, adding that action in Congress would likely resolve the issue faster than an appeal planned by the White House. Critics of the research maintain that using embryos for science is tantamount to taking a life. DeGette's legislation would allow only embryos slated to be discarded after in-vitro fertilization to be used in the research---and only after permission has been granted from the people who created them. DeGette tells Talking Points Memo that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other leading Democrats are "very concerned" by the judicial ruling, and she believes legislation could be passed as early as next month. "This is going to have to be addressed very, very quickly," DeGette assures.