New Jersey Governor’s Stem Cell Research Plan Draws Opposition

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 5, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Jersey Governor’s Stem Cell Research Plan Draws Opposition Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 5, 2005

Trenton, NJ ( — A plan by acting New Jersey Governor Richard Codey to spend $500 million on embryonic stem cell research is already drawing opposition. Pro-life groups criticize it for promoting the destruction of human life and some lawmakers are concerned that it doesn’t make fiscal sense.

Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance said the state should not borrow such a significant amount of money without voter approval.

"We’ve had far too much borrowing in New Jersey in recent times without voter approval. I don’t know all of the details, but I continue to oppose borrowing without voter approval," Lance told the Express News.

Sen. Joseph M. Kyrillos shares those financial concerns.

"The state of the state is such that we need to address very immediate and pressing problems regarding state government and the budget and reform measures," the Middletown Republican told the Courier Post newspaper.

Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler, one of seven Republicans seeking the nomination for governor this year, concurred.

"How can [Cody] be doing this when senior citizens all over the state are losing their homes to skyrocketing property taxes," he asked.

Meanwhile, Marie Tasy of New Jersey Right to Life disagreed with the proposal, but for different reasons. Her group says destroying human embryos for research is inappropriate and she fears human cloning could be used in such research to create unborn children with the sole intent of killing them.

"It’s about spending taxpayer money on research that involves cloning and killing human beings," she told the Express News.

Assemblyman Michael Doherty, a Republican from Warren, agreed. He told the Express News that those who want to fund such controversial research should rely on private investments rather than using taxpayer funds.

"They are basically taking (taxpayer) money and paying for social policy that you find abhorrent. That’s what is going on here," Doherty said. "It’s just a question of who should have to pay for it."

Cody’s plan calls for using $200 million in untapped bond money to pay for part of the package. The plan would also include a November 2005 ballot proposal asking voters to authorize issuing more bonds to raise $30 million per year over 10 years for long-term funding.