Connecticut Governor Wants on Embryonic Stem Cell Research Bandwagon

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

Connecticut Governor Wants on Embryonic Stem Cell Research Bandwagon Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 13, 2004

Hartford, CT ( — Not wanting to be left behind by big states like California, Illinois and Wisconsin, the governor of Connecticut says she wants the insurance capital of the country to be a national leader in another category: embryonic stem cell research.

Governor Jodi Rell says Connecticut should spend millions of dollars of this year’s state budget surplus towards the controversial research.

In an interview with the New Haven Register newspaper, Rell said she wants to use $10 to $20 million of the surplus on stem cell research, even though the deficit for fiscal year 2005-05 is projected to be anywhere from $600 million to $1.3 billion.

"I think it would be a prudent use" of funds, Rell told the Register. "With the research universities in Connecticut, I’d like to be able to give them a good boost."

Rell also admitted that Connecticut cannot complete on the same playing field as larger states such as California, where voters recently approved using $6 billion taxpayer dollars to fund the destructive research, or Illinois or Wisconsin, where governors hope to secure $1 billion in tax funding for it.

Catholic officials are expected to oppose the idea, as they opposed previous legislation the state legislature considered.

David Reynolds of the Connecticut Catholic Conference said stem cell research is a wonderful idea but human embryos should not be destroyed to obtain stem cells.

"We are opposed to it as the destruction of human life in its earliest stages," Reynolds told the Bristol Press newspaper.

He said the focus should remain on the use of adult stem cells which have produced treatments for 98 diseases so far by using cells from ethical sources.

Last year, legislation to put the state on record in favor of the research passed in the Senate but died in the state House.

Lt. Gov. Kevin Sullivan has talked about reviving the bill.