New Jersey Governor Candidate "Evolves" on Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 20, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Jersey Governor Candidate "Evolves" on Stem Cell Research Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 20, 2005

Trenton, NJ ( — With both of the candidates seeking to become the governor of New Jersey supporting abortion, the issue of using tax money to pay for embryonic stem cell research was one of the few dividing lines between Republican candidate Doug Forrester and Democrat John Corzine. That may have changed.

Following news earlier this week that scientists may have found a way to obtain embryonic stem cells without destroying unborn children, Forrester says his views on the issue have "evolved."

He said yesterday that the developments have "given us the ability to do embryonic stem cell research without the previous ethical challenges."

Corzine has proposed spending as much as $400 million in state funds on a state stem cell research institute that would also go towards using embryonic stem cells, which have yet to cure any patients.

In May, Forrester said he opposed the plan, citing moral problems with the research and saying the state was not in a financial position to be able to afford the investment.

But, in a television debate on Tuesday night, Forrester appeared to change his position.

"There are few things that are more exciting," Forrester said. "I don’t want anybody to suggest that we have to do anything other than pursue these cures. This relief, that offers so much promise, we need to do it vigorously, we need to do it now."

To Marie Tasy of New Jersey Right to Life, that’s a change in position.

"It’s a shift in his position and I think very similar to what happened in ’02, when he was running for the Senate and changed his (pro-life) position on abortion," Tasy told the Star-Ledger newspaper.

Yesterday, Forrester tried to clarify his stance.

"I am and always have been in support of stem cell research. I have and always will be opposed to the creation of human embryos solely for the purpose of scientific experiments," Forrester said in a statement released by his campaign to The Star-Ledger. "But current research is developing new and exciting techniques which make stem cells available without the ethical challenges we’ve been wrestling with."

However, pro-life groups disagree. They cite problems associated with the "new" embryonic stem cell research saying it has not eliminated all of the ethical problems.