by Steven Ertelt
January 14, 2005
Hartford, CT (LifeNews.com) — With other states charging ahead to spend lavishly on embryonic stem cell research that has yet to cure a single patient, Connecticut lawmakers are not content to stand by and watch. Dozens of lawmakers say they’re ready to approve a bill that failed in last year’s session.
Proponents of the measure say the only unanswered question not whether Connecticut lawmakers will bankroll the destructive research, but how much they’ll spend on it.
"What a difference a year makes," said a smiling Sen. Christopher Murphy, as he looked around the packed room at a press conference for the legislation. Murphy is the co-chairman of the public health committee, that will first consider the bill.
Republican Governor Jodi Rell supports the effort as do Democratic leaders in both chambers.
Rell is expected to ask lawmakers to put $10 to $20 million behind stem cell research efforts, but Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams wants to spend at least $100 million.
"Let us be bold," Williams told the Hartford Courant. "Let us not lose the opportunity."
Marie Hillard of the Connecticut Catholic Conference is one of the few pro-life advocates in the state speaking out against the research.
Her group opposes the bill because it would involve the destruction of days-old human embryos.
She also says the benefits of embryonic stem cell research are overstated and that the use of adult stem cells has been more effective and already provided cures for various diseases and ailments.
"We believe there is a tremendous amount of misinformation," she told the Courant newspaper.
Other lawmakers may be concerned about spending the money because the deficit for fiscal year 2005-05 is projected to be anywhere from $600 million to $1.3 billion.
A recent Quinnipiac Poll found that 59 percent support Rell’s proposal for spending $10-20 million on stem cell research.
The legislation would ban human cloning for reproductive purposes but allow it for research.
Proponents of the measure say the bill will fund research at both Yale University and the University of Connecticut and research could be conducted by destroying human embryos stored at fertility clinics.
Meanwhile, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, a Democratic candidate for governor, is hosting a stem cell research conference on January 25 with members of the legislature.