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the purpose of research.28 The Panel’s report was unanimously accepted by the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) on December 2, 1994.

After the ACD meeting on December 2, 1994, President Clinton directed NIH not to allocate resources to support the “creation of human embryos for research purposes.” The President’s directive did not apply to research involving so-called “spare” embryos, those that sometimes remain from clinical IVF procedures performed to assist infertile couples to become parents. Nor did it apply to human parthenotes, eggs that begin development through artificial activation, not through fertilization. Following the Clinton December 2, 1994 directive to NIH, the agency proceeded with plans to develop guidelines to support research using spare embryos.

Dickey Amendment. NIH plans to develop guidelines on embryo research were halted on January 26, 1996, with the enactment of P.L. 104-99, which contained a rider that affected FY1996 funding for NIH. The rider prohibited HHS from using appropriated funds for the creation of human embryos for research purposes or for research in which human embryos are destroyed. This same rider, often referred to as the Dickey Amendment, has been attached to the Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations Acts for FY1997 through FY2006.29 For FY2006, the provision is found in Section 509 of the Labor, HHS and Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2006 (P.L. 109-149). It states that:

  • (a)

    None of the funds made available in this Act may be used for —

    • (1)

      the creation of a human embryo or embryos for research purposes;


(2) research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death greater than that allowed for research on fetuses in utero under 45 CFR 46.204(b) and Section 498(b) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 289g(b)).

(b) For purposes of this section, the term “human embryo or embryos” includes any organism, not protected as a human subject under 45 CFR 46 [the Human Subject Protection regulations] as of the date of enactment of this Act, that is derived by fertilization, parthenogenesis, cloning, or any other means from one or more human gametes [sperm or egg] or human diploid cells [cells that have two sets of chromosomes, such as somatic cells].

28 National Institutes of Health, Report of the Human Embryo Research Panel, Sept. 27, 1994.

29 The rider language has not changed significantly from year to year (however, there was a technical correction in P.L. 109-149). The original rider, introduced by Rep. Jay Dickey, is in Section 128 of P.L. 104-99; it affected NIH funding for FY1996 contained in P.L. 104- 91. For subsequent fiscal years, the rider is found in Title V, General Provisions, of the Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations Acts in the following public laws: FY1997, P.L. 104-208; FY1998, P.L. 105-78; FY1999, P.L. 105-277; FY2000, P.L. 106-113; FY2001, P.L. 106-554; FY2002, P.L. 107-116; FY2003, P.L. 108-7; FY2004, P.L. 108-199; and, FY2005, P.L. 108-447.

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