New York Lawmakers Want $1 Billion for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 17, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New York Lawmakers Want $1 Billion for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 17, 2005

Albany, NY ( — New York lawmakers want the state to spend as much as $1 billion over the next ten years on stem cell research to keep up with California, where voters recently approved using $6 billion in taxpayer funds for embryonic research and human cloning.

"If the state of New York does not recognize the competitive need, our research scientists are all going to change their tune from ‘I Love New York’ to ‘California, Here I Come,’ " Deputy Minority Leader Eric Schneiderman (D- Bronx) told a press conference at City Hall.

Minority Leader David Paterson agreed, saying that New York has traditionally been the "real epicenter and focus of medical research."

Paterson said he hopes New York Governor George Pataki will include funding in the draft of his state budget, scheduled to be released Tuesday.

Paterson indicated his proposal would create a New York Stem Cell Research Institute to monitor research in the state and award grants.

Like California and other states considering investing significant money into the controversial research, New York would raise the funds by selling state bonds.

However, legislators looking for money will run into some of the same problems as those in other states.

First, pro-life groups will want to make sure that funding of embryonic stem cell research does not occur because it involves the destruction of human life. They prefer the use of adult stem cells, which come from more ethical sources and have already produced dozens of cures and treatments.

Secondly, New York lawmakers are facing a massive budget crunch and some will not want to spend money on the research while other programs are being cut.

Sen. Liz Krueger backs the funding idea and says that human cloning should be banned "in order to prevent abuses."

Pro-life groups worry her bill ll will only ban human cloning for reproductive purposes but allow cloning for research.