Maryland Lawmakers May Alter Embryonic Stem Cell Research Bill

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 15, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Maryland Lawmakers May Alter Embryonic Stem Cell Research Bill Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 15, 2006

Annapolis, MD ( — Maryland lawmakers who want the state to spend taxpayer money on embryonic stem cell research are looking to change the language of their legislation in order to get more support in the state Senate and from Gov. Bob Ehrlich.

Discussion has been underway for more than a week to change the language of the bill, which currently would fund only embryonic stem cell research, to contain neutral language that would allow funding for both embryonic and adult stem cells.

"We’re looking at some form of compromise to move the issue forward," Senate President Thomas Mike Miller told the Baltimore Sun. "We need to move forward as expeditiously as possible."

The Sun reports that Senate Democrats who support the measure are looking to drop the words "embryo" and "embryonic" from the bill altogether in a move they hope will gain support.

Right now, pro-life lawmakers of both parties have banded together in the Senate to filibuster the bill because they don’t support using tax dollars to pay for research that involves the destruction of human life.

However, they and pro-life groups may still oppose the bill because it still allows for $25 million a year for five years of funding of the destructive research, which has yet to cure any patients.

The measure would also allow the destruction of human embryos from fertility clinics for research.

Nineteen votes are needed to sustain a filibuster and 14 Republicans and six Democrats have joined forced to stop the legislation.

Senate Minority Leader Lowell Stoltzfus told the Sun he still has the votes needed to prevent a vote on the embryonic stem cell research bill.

"The landscape hasn’t changed a lot as far as I can see," he said.

A representative of Governor Ehrlich said he is pursuing a proposal he’s already put forward and would be unlikely to support a revised bill.

Ehrlich has proposed $13.5 million in spending for a new medical research center in Baltimore and another $20 million for stem cell research projects. His plan calls for a technology development group governed by the state to determine what kind of research the $20 million will fund.

TAKE ACTION: Contact your state Representative and Senator and urge strong opposition to the embryonic stem cell research bills. You can find contact info at: