Ohio Researchers Bash Potential Ban on Embryonic Stem Cell Funds

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 27, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Ohio Researchers Bash Potential Ban on Embryonic Stem Cell Funds Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
June 27, 2005

Columbus, OH (LifeNews.com) — Researchers in Ohio are concerned that a provision in the state’s budget will prevent any state taxpayer funds from being used for embryonic stem cell research. Gov. Bob Taft has his 10-year, $1.6 billion Third Frontier technology budget on his desk to be signed, but the scientists want him to remove the ban from it.

Dan Berglund, president and chief executive of the State Science and Technology Institute, told the Associated Press that the ban sends the wrong message at a time when other states like California and Connecticut are putting public funds into the controversial research.

"It sends a chilling message, not just to Ohio but to the country at large," he said. "The problem with Ohio’s position on this is it essentially says: Go away, leave, we’re not interested in supporting this research."

Berglund and Douglas Kniss, an Ohio State University professor who will soon be conducting research on embryonic stem cells, want Taft to use his line-item veto to strike the ban from the budget.

Kniss told AP that he believes some of the state’s top scientists may leave if the ban stays in place.

"I’m not going to move, but people are moving," he said.

However, the ban has the support of pro-life groups.

“We strongly support the … 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 [legislature] has wisely decided to invest in the only type of stem cell research that is both ethical and a demonstrated success,” Lally added.

Rep. Mike Gilb, the Republican lawmakers who inserted the ban into the budget, said it’s necessary because he worries embryonic stem cell research will lead to human cloning.

"There has not been the demonstrated progress in embryonic research like there has been with nonembryonic stem cells," Gilb 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.

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