by Steven Ertelt
March 2, 2005
Albany, NY (LifeNews.com) — Legislation that would have the state of New York spending $100 million per year on embryonic stem cell research is gaining support as lawmakers seek to join other states that are spending huge amounts of taxpayer dollars on the unproven research.
Maria Mitchell, president of the Academic Medicine Development Company, tells Newsday that the legislature should approve the bill because top scientists are being lured away from the state to places where money is flowing.
"We know they are actively being recruited," she said.
But, Kathleen Gallagher of the New York State Catholic Conference says embryonic stem cell research is "human experimentation" and something that should not be financed with money from pro-life people who strongly oppose it.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver introduced the bill to create a state institute for stem cell research. It would receive $100 million from the state this year and $200 million next year.
Sen. Nicholas Spano plans to introduce a similar bill in the state Senate.
Gov. George Pataki, a Republican, called the bill a "positive thing," according to a Newsday report, but said he doesn’t know how the state will come up with the necessary funds.
Like California and other states considering investing significant money into the controversial research, New York could raise the funds by selling state bonds. New York lawmakers are facing a massive budget crunch and some may not want to spend money on the research while other programs are being cut.
The state Assembly has twice passed a bill that states embryonic stem cell research is permitted in the state, but the Senate has never voted on it.