New Jersey First to Publicly Fund Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 29, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Jersey First to Publicly Fund Embryonic Stem Cell Research

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
June 29, 2004

Trenton, NJ ( — New Jersey has become the first state to use taxpayer dollars to fund human cloning for research purposes.

Last week, Governor Jim McGreevey added $3 million to the state budget to fund embryonic stem cell research, only a day before the budget was supposed to be put to a vote.

Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey each contributed another $1 million from their leftover funding from the previous year, bringing the total taxpayer funds used in the destructive research on human life to $11.5 million.

The state legislature approved the budget on Friday.

Marie Tasy, Public & Legislative Affairs Director for New Jersey Right to Life, called the move "reprehensible," and said it was part of a "blitzkrieg campaign" of McGreevey’s administration "to covertly and hastily rush bills through to cater to special interests while keeping the public in the dark."

Tasy told that throughout the legislative process to pass a bill supporting embryonic stem cell research, McGreevey stressed that the bill did not authorize public funding for this research.

"McGreevey is forcing this unethical research down the throats of the taxpayers even though they disapprove of the funding," noted Tasy, citing a March 2004 Quinnipiac Poll that showed 48 percent of NJ citizens do not want their tax dollars used to fund embryonic stem cell research.

While California also passed legislation encouraging stem cell research on human embryos, California voters will ultimately decide whether their money is used to fund the research.

"Funding this center is an outrageous breach of the public trust," said Tasy. "It will impede progress that has already been made through the most promising avenues of research — adult stem cell research — and divert valuable resources away from this only effective means of providing cures for human illness and disease."

To date, no medical advances have been made using embryonic stem cells, and the few stem cell lines created from embryonic research have proven useless. All medical advances using stem cells came from adult stem cells, which can be collected from sources such as umbilical cord blood without destroying human life.

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."

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 –