Ohio Becomes Next Stem Cell Research Battleground State

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

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by Maria Vitale Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
May 23, 2005

Columbus, OH (LifeNews.com) — Ohio has become another battleground state in the fight against embryonic stem cell research. The Ohio House recently passed a budget bill which included an amendment to bar state funding of such research.

But, State Sen. Eric Fingerhut (D-Shaker Heights) plans to offer an amendment in the Ohio Senate countering the ban.

Fingerhut told the Cleveland Jewish News, “Where does the notion come from that an embryo less than five days old is in fact potential life, the protection of which takes precedence over the possibility of developing cures for people already living?”

Fingerhut added, “My faith commands me to be in favor and to be an advocate for the research with the potential of saving human life today and in the future. It is wrong for the General Assembly to adopt the theology of one religious denomination over the religious and moral views of the overwhelming majority of the citizens of Ohio.”

However, a number of bioethicists contend that it is ethically wrong to engage in embryonic stem cell research because it involves the killing of a living human embryo.

Meanwhile, the House ban on tax funding for embryonic stem cell research has the support of groups such as Ohio Right to Life, an affiliate of National Right to Life.

“We strongly support the House-passed amendment prohibiting the use of state grant funds for research that involves the destruction of human embryos to obtain their stem cells,” Mark Lally, legislative director of Ohio Right to Life, told LifeNews.com.

“Since ‘adult’ stem cells have produced over 50 clinical treatments while embryonic stem cells have produced none, the Ohio House has wisely decided to invest in the only type of stem cell research that is both ethical and a demonstrated success,” Lally added.

Initial trials using embryonic stem cells have proven disastrous. In one case, for instance, Parkinson’s patients who were injected with embryonic stem cells ended up growing hair in their brains.

Adult stem cell research has proven to be far more promising, offering treatments for everything from heart disease to breast cancer.

The Ohio controversy over embryonic stem cell research comes just as Congress is bracing for a showdown on the issue. A bill expanding the number of embryonic stem cell lines available for federal funding is scheduled for a vote before Memorial Day.

Related web sites:
Ohio Right to Life – https://www.ohiolife.org