Signals Blog

The US Court of Appeals in Washington DC yesterday suspended a recent temporary injunction issued by a federal district judge against the use of federal funds for hESC research. Read my earlier post on the injunction. The suspension is temporary, and is intended to allow the appellate court sufficient opportunity to review an emergency appeal filed by the federal government against the district judge’s ruling. In the meantime, activities affected by the injunction can resume.

Whether or not the government’s appeal succeeds, this state of affairs does not bode well for US stem cell policy. The courts are hardly the right venue for setting science policy, especially in an area fraught with social controversy. Opponents of hESC research are also more likely to view any pro-hESC research policy as legitimate if it issued by Congress instead of by way of technical judicial interpretations.


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Ubaka Ogbogu

Ubaka Ogbogu is an Assistant Professor and the Katz Group Research Fellow in Health Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Alberta. His teaching and research interests include health law, law and biotechnology, law and bioethics, science and regulation, and legal history. Ubaka is a former SCN trainee and a recipient of the SCN Canadian Alumni Award. He has done extensive research work on the ethical, legal and social issues associated with stem cell research, and continues to research and publish in this area. Ubaka holds law degrees at the bachelors and masters levels from the University of Benin in Nigeria and the University of Alberta, and is currently in the process of completing a doctorate in law at the University of Toronto. His doctoral work focuses on the legal history of early health care and biotechnology policies in Canada, particularly in relation to smallpox vaccination and infectious diseases.