Connecticut Governor Makes Stem Cell Research Funding Idea Official

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 23, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
January 23, 2005

Hartford, CT (LifeNews.com) — Governor Jodi Rell made her proposal to spend millions on embryonic stem cell research official on Friday. She says she wants to spend $20 million of the $316 million surplus on the controversial research that involves the destruction of human life.

Rell announced that the state budget she will submit to legislators will call on creating a special fund with the money to be used to draw in other investments for stem cell research in the state.

"We can spur research at our universities and create strong relationships with others who want to move stem cell research forward," the governor said in a statement. "This investment makes good common sense in terms of both public health and job creation."

Pro-life groups strongly support stem cell research but oppose the kind involving embryonic stem cells because unborn children in their earliest days must be destroyed to obtain them.

They support the use of adult stem cells, which comes from more ethical sources and have already produced dozens of treatments for cures and diseases. Embryonic stem cells have yet to cure any patients.

The initial $20 million investment would be spread out over two years, Governor Rell indicated, and she said more money would be needed in the future.

Rell said she would also propose legislation that would make Connecticut a "safe haven" for embryonic stem cell research. The legislation would ban human cloning for reproductive purposes but allow it for research.

In addition to opposition from pro-life groups, Rell may encounter opposition from lawmakers, including many fellow Republicans concerned about the state’s money situation.

While the last fiscal year ends with a surplus, the next year is projected to be $1.3 billion in the red.

Still, 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.