The Catholic University of America



Professor Robert Destro Appears on NPR's
Diane Rehm Show about Future of Stem Cell Research


Catholic University law school Professor Robert Destro was among four guests to appear on the Aug. 31 edition of the Diane Rehm Show, produced in Washington, D.C. , and syndicated across the country by National Public Radio.
The subject was the ruling earlier in August by U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth that immediately blocks federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, a decision the Obama Administration has vowed to appeal.
At the moment, however, the injunction from the court has halted, at least temporarily, all federally funded stem cell research, including a number of projects well underway at the National Institutes of Health.  
Along with Professor Destro (left) who directs the Columbus School of Law’s Interdisciplinary Program on Law and Religion, fellow discussants included Dr. George Daley,director, Stem Cell Transplantation Program, Children’s Hospital, Boston; Sean Tipton, the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, an advocacy group dedicated to research into embryonic stem cells and regenerative medicine; and Peter J. Boyer, a staff writer for the New Yorker who has published extensively about the stem cell research controversy.
The live, hour-long program also included phone calls and e-mail comments from listeners.
The issues were aired along familiar lines, with medical researchers decrying the recent court ruling as an out-of-the-blue “monkey wrench” that will seriously disrupt progress being made toward halting or curing a host of degenerative diseases.
Destro argued that the court’s prohibition was perfectly in line with the unambiguous intent of the  Dickey-Wicker Amendment, legislation passed by Congress that prohibits the use of federal funds for all research in which a human embryo is destroyed.
“If you give these embryos up for human experimentation, then you’re going to have that ethical debate,” said Destro. “This bottom line question: is an embryo to be treated like a piece of property, or is it a human being”?
Judge Lamberth’s ruling does not apply to privately funded research involving the use of human embryonic stem cells.