New Jersey Governor Signs "Unethical" Stem Cell Research Bill

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 5, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Jersey Governor Signs "Unethical" Stem Cell Research Bill

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 5, 2004

Trenton, NJ ( — As expected, New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey (D-NJ) signed a bill that pro-life groups are saying is the worst legislation ever concerning stem cell research. The bill allows human embryos to be cloned and implanted into a woman’s uterus and the unborn child can be killed at any time from that point until the end of the pregnancy.

"Today we celebrate the possible in our state," McGreevey said during the bill signing ceremony. "It is our obligation as a people and as a state to move the frontiers of science forward."

Meanwhile, the state’s leading pro-life organization condemned the bill and McGreevey’s signing it into law.

"This is truly a dark day for New Jersey," said Marie Tasy of New Jersey Right to Life.

"It is extremely perverse and objectionable that [McGreevey’s] goal of making ‘New Jersey the nation’s leader for medical research’ includes the unethical practice of human cloning and the harvesting and use of body parts of cloned humans in the embryonic and fetal stages of development which is authorized under this law," Tasy added

Former actor Christopher Reeve appeared with McGreevey at the signing. Reeve has been criticized for using the paralysis he suffered after a 1995 fall from a horse to become a leading advocate for destructive embryonic stem cell research.

"Whenever something truly great is accomplished, its birth is always attended by controversy and antagonism and naysayers," Reeve said. "And then, years later, we look back and wonder what all the fuss was about. This kind of scientific inquiry should not be stopped."

The bill bans the use of reproductive cloning and provides for a 20-year jail sentence for it — a point on which both sides agree.

However, the "fuss" surrounds the use of human cloning to create unborn children solely for the purpose of destroying them for their stem cells.

Pro-life groups have long supported the goals of stem cell research, but say that more ethical alternatives are available and that one life shouldn’t be taken to advance another person’s life.

"Proponents continue to shamefully mislead individuals suffering with illness and disease by making false and unsubstantiated claims about human embryonic stem cells," Tasy explained. "Unlike adult stem cells which are curing people, embryonic stem cells have never been used successfully in clinical trials in humans and carry significant risks, including immune rejection and tumor formation."

The bill passed in the state Assembly after a heated debate. Legislative leaders left the voting board open for 45 minutes to engage in last-minute arm-twisting in order to obtain enough votes for passage.

In August 2001, President Bush signed an executive order prohibiting federal funding of any new embryonic stem cell research.

Related web sites:
New Jersey Right to Life –