by Maria Vitale Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
February 7, 2006
Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — Florida voters will not be voting on whether taxpayer money can finance embryonic stem cell research in the state this year.
Two competing amendments—one that would have supported taxpayer financing and one opposing it—failed to make the Sunshine State ballot. Backers of both initiatives could not secure the 611,000 signatures needed to get on the November ballot.
Interestingly enough, though, opponents of state spending on embryonic stem cell research managed to gather more than 47,000 valid signatures, while supporters could only garner a little more than 5,000.
The opposition group, headed by Boca Raton mortgage broker Susan Cutaia, was known as Citizens for Science and Ethics, while the proponent group, spearheaded by Palm Beach County Commissioner Burt Aaronson, was called Floridians for Stem Cell Research and Cures.
Meanwhile, a bill introduced in the Florida legislature would provide $15 million a year for 10 years in state seed money for embryonic stem cell research.
However, Statehouse observers say the legislation, sponsored by Sen. Ron Klein (D-Boca Raton) and Rep. Franklin Sands (D-Weston), is in trouble. Sands recently pulled the bill before the House Health Care Regulation Committee could vote on it because he didn’t have the votes to get it passed. He promises to bring it back at a later date.
Florida Governor Jeb Bush is opposed to the bill.
Depending on what happens to the bill, the ballot initiatives could appear before voters in 2008. Both opponents and proponents of taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research have vowed to continue their fight.
A number of bioethicists object to such research because it involves the killing of human embryos. To date, no known cures have resulted from such research.
Pro-life groups including Florida Right to Life, the Florida Baptist Convention and the Florida Catholic Conference have urged lawmakers to oppose any legislation that would spend money on embryonic stem cell research because it involves the destruction of human life.