The Obama administration this week asked a federal judge to suspend his recent ruling that prohibits the federal funding of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research.
Last week, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth found that the administration's 2009 expansion of such research violates a ban on the federally funded destruction of human embryos.
That ruling, the Department of Justice (DOJ) argued in an emergency motion filed Tuesday, threatens years of research, causing "irrevocable harm to the millions of extremely sick or injured people who stand to benefit from continuing hESC research."
The agency is asking Lamberth to stay — or suspend — his ruling while the DOJ appeals it.
The move is necessary, DOJ says, "to avoid terminating research projects midstream, invalidating results in process, and impeding or negating years of scientific progress toward finding new treatments for devastating illnesses."
Anti-abortion groups, who cheered Lamberth's ruling, are now slamming the White House for appealing it.
"With our tax dollars, we should be investing in the adult stem cell research that works now and holds the greatest long-term promise for all Americans," Charmaine Yoest, head of Americans United for Life, said in a statement.