New Jersey Gov Lobbies Doctors, Nurses to Back Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 26, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Jersey Gov Lobbies Doctors, Nurses to Back Stem Cell Research Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 26, 2005

Trenton, NJ ( — Acting New Jersey Governor Codey wants the state to spend nearly $400 million in taxpayer funds for unproven embryonic stem cell research. His plan is running into opposition and he’s decided to drum up support from doctors and nurses.

Codey is having a tough time finding approval for his plan because of opposition from pro-life groups, Democrats who don’t want a contentious issue in this November’s election and taxpayers who see other more important uses for the funds.

To bolster support for his plan, Codey is turning to the state’s medical community.

He recently sent a letter to 205,000 registered doctors and nurses in the state urging them to talk to their friends and neighbors to drum up support.

"We have the scientists, the research industries and the commitment," Codey wrote, according to a North Jersey Media Group report. "Now we need action. We must act aggressively — science moves fast, and other states are right behind us in the race for discovery."

Codey said he sent the letters "for support, to galvanize a community that should be in the forefront of the fight for this."

The governor’s letters didn’t go over well with everyone.

Dr. Aulita Eck received one and was upset she made it on his list.

"He just made the assumption that we are all on the same page that he was," said Eck, an internal medicine specialist.

"There are hundreds and hundreds of uses of adult or non-embryonic stem cells. Why he would be pouring our good, hard-earned New Jersey tax dollars into embryonic stem cell research is beyond me," she told the New Jersey Media Group.

"It’s like the funding for building public schools. They just want the money. Whether the kids get education is not their concern," she said.

Codey told the media outlet that Democratic leaders have said this is the wrong time for a stem cell research battle.

"They’ve said that to me personally," Codey said. "I understand that."

Pro-life groups will also keep up the pressure and Marie Tasy of New Jersey Right to Life says defeating Codey’s plan is a top priority.

"It’s even more egregious that he has not been elected by the people and he’s pushing his agenda," said Tasy told the New Jersey media outlet. "He seems to be trying to do an end run around the Legislature and the people of New Jersey."

Polls show Codey will have a tough time selling his proposal.

A January poll by Quinnipiac University found that 68 percent of New Jersey residents back stem cell research in general, but only 47 percent support using taxpayer funds to pay for it.