Web Date: February 28, 2007
Court Upholds Stem Cell Initiative
The California stem cell program, established by a successful 2004 voter initiative, has been found to be constitutionally and legally sound by the state's First District Court of Appeal. The Feb. 26 decision upheld a lower court's ruling.
"Once again, the judiciary has upheld the constitutionality of California's innovative stem cell research program in its entirety, without equivocation, and with absolutely no room for further argument," said Robert N. Klein, chairman of the board overseeing the stem cell program.
The case was brought by antiabortion and antitax groups, which argued, among other things, that the program was spending taxpayer money without sufficient oversight and violated conflict-of-interest rules. The plaintiffs have 40 days to appeal the ruling to the California Supreme Court, which would then have 90 days to decide whether to accept the case.
In the meantime, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the agency set up to manage the state's stem cell program, is moving forward with its mission. In mid-February, the institute awarded 72 grants totaling $45 million to 20 state institutions for human embryonic stem cell research. The funds to support these grants came primarily from a loan authorized by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last year.
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