by Steven Ertelt
March 7, 2006
Trenton, NJ (LifeNews.com) — A New Jersey state Senate committee has approved a bill that would spend $200 million for two new stem cell research centers in the state. Pro-life groups oppose the measure because the money would also be spent on embryonic stem cell research, which is unproven and destroys human life.
The panel heard debate before approving the legislation on an 8-4 vote and heard from people on both sides who either wanted to advance the controversial research or worried that it would lead to human cloning.
Three members of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee panel did not vote on the measure.
The money would build stem cell research centers at Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Funds would come from state bonds that are not currently being used, but, with New Jersey’s difficult economic situation, lawmakers are hesitant to add to the state’s debt.
"We’re broke," said John Tomicki, executive director of the League of American Families, of the state’s budget and fiscal problems.
"But if we’re going to move ahead with this, we should put it up for a vote by the public," he added, according to an Asbury Park Press report.
Dawn Parkot, who has cerebral palsy and several other ailments, told lawmakers that cures shouldn’t be discovered on the back of killing unborn children.
"We don’t have any right to let an unborn baby or child die in order to give a disabled person even an excellent likelihood to get better, let alone fulfill the marginal promise that open-ended stem-cell research offers," Parkot said.
Meanwhile, two leading embryonic stem cell research advocates, Senate President Richard Codey and Assemblyman Neil Cohen, are disputing the figures in their respective bills in each chamber.
In December the pair agreed on spending $145 million for the two research facilities and would ask voters for $350 million more over seven years.
Codey however, has been pushing for $500 million over 10 years.
While he was serving as acting governor, Codey pushed a $500 million package through the state Senate but could not come up with enough votes in the House.
The state’s new governor, pro-abortion Democrat Jon Corzine, backs the embryonic stem cell research bill.
Embryonic stem cell research has yet to cure any patients and has problems with patients’ immune systems rejecting the cells. Pro-life groups favor adult stem cells, which have already produced dozens of treatments for various conditions.