WASHINGTON (EWTN News) — Opponents of embryo-killing stem-cell research said they intend to review their options for appeal after a federal judge rejected a lawsuit that would have ended federal funding for the research.

“Americans should not be forced to pay for experiments that destroy human life, have produced no real-world treatments, and violate federal law,” said Steven Aden, senior council at the Alliance Defense Fund, which supported the lawsuit.

“The law is clear, and we intend to review all of our options for appeal of this decision. In these tough economic times, it makes no sense for the federal government to use taxpayer money for this illegal and unethical purpose.”

Obama administration adviser Stephanie Cutter wrote on the White House blog that the ruling was “another step in the right direction.” She mentioned patients and families who have suffered from “debilitating, incurable diseases” and said the research offers hope to “millions of Americans.”

The lawsuit had charged that research funded by the National Institutes of Health violated the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, which bars federal funds for research that is lethal to human embryos. The Obama administration allows research on cells from embryos killed using private funding.

In 2010, U.S. district Judge Royce Lamberth had ruled that the lawsuit against the Obama administration regulations was likely to succeed. However, in a July 27 ruling, he deferred to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ opinion and ruled in favor of the administration’s contention that the research is not “research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed.”

The judge described his court as a “grudging partner in a bout of ‘linguistic jujitsu,’” saying the decision rested on the ambiguity of the word “research.”

The lawsuit was filed by the Christian Medical Association and Nightlight Christian Adoptions, with support from non-embryonic stem-cell researchers who said the administration’s policy makes it more difficult for them to secure grants.

President George W. Bush permitted funding for the research but limited taxpayer funds to 21 embryonic stem-cell lines that already existed.

In March 2009, President Obama removed that limitation, expanding the number of qualified cell lines to 128.