Illinois Stem Cell Research Grant Process Will Begin Next Month

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 25, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Illinois Stem Cell Research Grant Process Will Begin Next Month

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
November 25, 2005

Springfield, IL (LifeNews.com) — The state of Illinois will begin shelling out grants from $10 million snuck into the state budget for stem cell research, some of which could involve the destruction of human life. Despite the money, Gov. Rod Blagojevich has not lured stem cell research companies from Missouri to work there.

Blagojevich and state Comptroller Dan Hynes sent letters to Missouri companies and researchers hoping to persuade them to move to there because of legislation in the Missouri state legislature banning all forms of human cloning.

But Donn Rubin, chairman of the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, a group that is backing an embryonic stem cell research initiative in Missouri, called the small amount of grants a "symbolic gesture."

Blagojevich and Hynes announced the grants in July after sneaking in a budget item for "grants and related expenses of hospitals and universities for scientific research," according to the Springfield Journal-Register newspaper.

Pro-life groups and lawmakers were outraged by what they did, especially since the state Senate in November 2004 defeated a measure designed to allow human cloning for research.

Rev. Robert Vanden Bosch of the Concerned Christian Americans said his group and others will now focus "on looking at next year’s budget."

When he announced the funds, Blagojevich also signed an executive order creating the Illinois Regenerative Medicine Institute, which the Department of Public Health will oversee. IRMI will dole out the grants.

Health spokeswoman Jennifer Williams said an advisory panel of out of state experts will determine the grants so there are no conflicts of interest.