New Jersey Gov. Wants Delaware, Pennsylvania in Stem Cell Research Bloc

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 2, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Jersey Gov. Wants Delaware, Pennsylvania in Stem Cell Research Bloc Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Maria Vitale Gallagher Staff Writer
December 2, 2004

Trenton, NJ ( — The acting governor of New Jersey is hoping to persuade nearby states to join in a three-state coalition promoting embryonic stem cell research. New Jersey Governor Richard Codey this week proposed a joint embryonic stem cell initiative involving his home state, along with Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Codey made the pitch at an economic seminar at the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

But, both the pro-abortion governor of Pennsylvania and pro-life activists in the Keystone state say it can’t happen without a change in Pennsylvania law.

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell supports the idea, but says it would require the repeal of a Pennsylvania law barring state investment in controversial stem cell procedures.

Pro-life groups would likely fight any effort to do that.

Codey is pushing the initiative in an effort to compete against California, which is investing billions in the unproven research as a result of an initiative passed by voters in November.

"I can’t match $3 billion from California," Codey told 300 Philadelphia area business and government leaders. "If the three of us can come together and do something with stem cell research, I think we could be a powerhouse."

Rendell, who has long been a supporter of legal abortion, echoed Codey’s remarks, saying, “We could get over the $1 billion level, and it’s a great idea."

But embryonic stem cell research is far from a great idea, in the eyes of a number of scientists, academicians, and pro-life activists.

Embryonic stem cell research has, so far, yielded little in the way of results. Bioethicists also oppose it on ethical grounds, since it involves the killing of living human embryos.

On the other hand, the use of adult stem cells has already produced more than 120 treatments for various ailments and diseases.

Meanwhile, Rendell is asking business leaders to lobby the Pennsylvania legislature next year to repeal the state’s ban on funding for embryonic stem cell research.

"This has to change; it has to be repealed," Rendell said.

But a repeal is a long shot, according to Mary Beliveau, lobbyist for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, the state’s largest pro-life organization.

"It is unlikely the Pennsylvania legislature would repeal any section of the Abortion Control Act, which includes a section preventing the destruction of live embryos for scientific experimentation," Beliveau said.

The former Governor of New Jersey, James McGreevey, signed legislation earlier this year endorsing the practice of embryonic stem cell research.

McGreevey also funded an organization called the Stem Cell Institute to promote embryonic stem cell research, despite the lack of any scientific evidence that embryonic stem cells are useful.

Related web sites:
Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation –