by Steven Ertelt
March 30, 2005
Annapolis, MD (LifeNews.com) — The Maryland state House has approved legislation that would spend millions of dollars on controversial embryonic stem cell research. Pro-life groups hope to stop the legislation in the state Senate.
Voting 81-53, the House of Delegates gave its stamp of approval to a bill that spends $23 million annually on the research that involves the destruction of human life.
Sally Jameson, a Democrat, said she voted for the bill because she has Type 1 diabetes and believes embryonic cells can help her even though they have yet to cure a single patient.
Opponents of the bill echoed concerns from pro-life groups that research should not be conducted that takes the lives of unborn children in their earliest days.
"No research should ever be done at the expense of another life, yet that is what embryonic stem cell research does," the Baltimore Sun reported Democrat Anne Healey saying.
Healey and others said state money should only be used on adult stem cells, which are more ethical and have already produced dozens of treatments and cures.
A representative of the Maryland Catholic Conference told the Sun newspaper she was saddened by the vote.
"This is really a slap in the face to Catholics in the state," Nancy Fortier said, referring to Maryland residents who oppose the research.
Funding for the research would come from the state’s tobacco lawsuit settlement money, which opponents say is supposed to be used for health care. The funds could only be used on research destroying frozen human embryos leftover from fertility clinics.
A similar version of the legislation is sitting in the Senate’s Budget and Taxation Committee and has yet to receive a vote. Senators opposed to the destructive research may launch a filibuster if it does.
Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich says he has some concerns about the measure.
Ehrlich, a Republican, said he is still "vetting" the stem cell bill, according to a Baltimore Gazette report, but believes "the federal government is the appropriate venue" for stem cell research funding.
"What we do at the state level … remains to be seen," he said. "We have some concerns about the present bill."
Maryland Right to Life also opposes the bill.
"A lot of confusion surrounds this bill, because some legislators who oppose cloning say they will support this bill," the group said in a statement. "They do not understand that stem cell research and cloning go hand in hand – embryos for embryonic stem cell research will be created through cloning techniques and then killed to harvest their stem cells."
Last year the pro-life group successfully fought a proposed law that would have legalized the cloning of human embryos for medical research in Maryland.