Illinois Bill Promoting Destructive Research Named After Ronald Reagan

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 18, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Illinois Bill Promoting Destructive Research Named After Ronald Reagan

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 18, 2004

Springfield, IL ( — Pro-life advocates in Illinois are disappointed that legislation promoting embryonic stem cell research has been named after President Ronald Reagan, violating the pro-life legacy he built.

State Senator Jeffrey Schoenberg, a Democrat, and House Minority Leader Tom Cross, a Republican, are lead sponsors of the legislation.

This week, they changed the name of their bill, that specifically allows embryonic stem cell research in which unborn children will be cloned and killed to obtain stem cells.

House Bill 3589 will now be known as the Ronald Reagan Biomedical Research Act.

"I was inspired by Nancy Reagan’s heartfelt and compelling call for embryonic stem cell research and the agony that both she and former President Reagan faced with his disease," said Schoenberg, the chief sponsor of the legislation.

But pro-life advocates are outraged by the attempt to tie President Reagan, who likely would have opposed such research, to the legislation.

"Ronald Reagan was 100 percent pro-life," Rev. Bob VandenBosch, a pro-life lobbyist, told the Illinois Leader. "Every pro-lifer in the state should be insulted that Reagan’s name is being degraded this way."

"I am furious that a Republican leader Tom Cross is renaming the clone and kill bill in the memory of Ronald Reagan," Concerned Women for America co-director Karen Hayes added, according to the Leader.

Sen. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton), who opposes the bill, told the Chicago Tribune that the renaming is a gimmick that probably won’t change any minds.

"Creating life for the purposes of experimentation is a road that many of us don’t want to go down," Roskam said.

Human embryos would be placed into a fertile woman’s uterus, grown for five to nine days, just short of implantation, and then removed for experimentation, the Leader reports.

U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama has co-sponsored the legislation while candidate candidate Jack Ryan says he opposes it. Ryan said he prefers adult stem cell research, which has been shown effective in clinical trials and comes without the controversy.

Democratic Representative Sara Feigenholtz is the chief sponsor in the House.