Florida Measure to Fund Embryonic Stem Cell Research Fails in Cmte

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 26, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Florida Measure to Fund Embryonic Stem Cell Research Fails in Cmte

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
January 26, 2006

Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — Florida will not likely become the next state to spend taxpayer money funding unproven embryonic stem cell research. A state House committee on Wednesday voted to take no action on a bill that would spend $150 million over 10 years on the research that has yet to cure a single patient.

The House Health Care Regulation Committee held a hearing on House Bill 233, sponsored by Rep. Franklin Sands, a Democrat.

Backers of the bill said Florida needs to stay competitive with states that have already spend millions, and even billions, on the research, despite its failures thus far.

But pro-life groups including Florida Right to Life, the Florida Baptist Convention and the Florida Catholic Conference urged lawmakers to oppose and legislation that would spend money on embryonic stem cell research because it involves the destruction of human life.

"We do object to the notion that pursuing cures for some ever justifies intentionally destroying other human lives to achieve those cures," Bill Bunkley of the Baptist Convention, told lawmakers, according to a report in The Ledger newspaper.

Florida currently restricts stem cell research funding to the use of adult stem cells, which have already produced cures and treatments for dozens of diseases and conditions.

Introduction of the measure had prompted Palm Beach County Commissioner Burt Aaronson to stop his ballot campaign to force Florida voters to pay for embryonic stem cell research.

There’s no word on whether he plans to start it up again but he said earlier that he would resume collecting signatures and shoot for getting the proposal on the ballot in 2008 should the legislation fail.

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who opposes the destructive research, had already promised to veto the bill.

In August, Bush told the Associated Press that he continues to oppose embryonic stem cell research and taxpayer funding for it because it involves killing human embryos, unique human beings.

”I don’t believe the state should be providing funding for that type of activity,” Bush said. "I think it’s a false hope in a lot of ways. But more importantly, it’s the encouraging of the creation of life to take life.”

Susan Cutaia, a Boca Raton businesswoman, is leading up an effort to gather signatures for a constitutional amendment to appear on the November 2006 ballot that would prohibit using state funds for embryonic stem cell research.