Texas Officials Hutchison, Perry Clash on Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 13, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Texas Officials Hutchison, Perry Clash on Embryonic Stem Cell Research Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
December 13, 2004

Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — In what could be a precursor to a 2006 primary battle for governor, U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said on Friday that Governor Rick Perry needs to put in place a plan to aggressively pursue state taxpayer funding for embryonic stem cell research.

Hutchison, who is not pro-life but frequently votes against abortion in the Senate, met with University of Texas regents and medical college presidents at a health conference Friday.

She said Texas should develop a stem cell research policy that prevents the Lone Star state from being "left in the dust by California, which recently approved a measure using $6 billion in taxpayer money to fund research that destroys human life."

"I think that Texas needs to have a responsible, ethical policy regarding stem-cell research," she told reporters after the meeting.

"I think if we are going to stay in the forefront of scientific discoveries, we are going to have to find an ethical way to keep the state-of-the-art experiments on stem cells and how they can displace unhealthy cells in people’s bodies."

But Robert Black, a spokesman for Governor Perry, who is pro-life, told the Associated Press that the governor will soon launch a stem cell research initiative "that will give Texas a significant competitive advantage in the emerging technologies field, and that includes biomedical technology."

However, Black cautioned that it would not promote embryonic stem cell research that Hutchison supports.

"Unlike Senator Hutchison, who supports embryonic stem cell research, Governor Perry supports President Bush’s position that we must strike a balance between science and the protection of life," Black said.

President Bush put forward a stem cell research policy in August 2001 that prohibits using taxpayer funds to pay for new embryonic stem cell research, which pro-life groups oppose because it involves the destruction of human life.

Instead, Bush authorized more than $190 million on funding adult stem cells, which are more ethical and have already produced more than 120 treatments for diseases and ailments.

Hutchison apparently wants to expand the number of embryonic stem cell lines available without using human cloning to do it. That likely means destroying some of the more than 400,000 human embryos estimated to be frozen at fertility clinics nationwide.

"My position is, we need to find a way to expand our capacity," Hutchison said after the health conference.

"The lines of stem cells that we had hoped would be available have not become readily available to our medical schools," Hutchison added. "So we’ve got to find a way to expand that capacity and make sure that we have strict regulations against the ability to clone a human being or create a human being."

However, Joe Pojman of the Texas Alliance for Life tells LifeNews.com that Hutchison is opposed to banning all forms of human cloning, including research cloning.

"Senator Hutchison takes an anti-life position and opposes a comprehensive ban on all human cloning," Pojman said. "She wants to allow cloning for research purposes, so that human beings can be created through cloning and then killed to extract embryonic stem cells."

That’s in contrast to Perry’s pro-life position against both abortion and all human cloning Pojman said.

"While we appreciate Senator Hutchison’s several pro-life votes in the U.S. Senate, she unfortunately remains in the pro-abortion and pro-cloning camp," Pojman added. "Governor Perry’s record on protecting innocent human life from abortion and cloning has been stellar."

Related web sites:
Texas Alliance for Life – https://www.texasallianceforlife.org