New Jersey Lawmakers Expand Stem Cell Research Bill With Third Lab

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 14, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Jersey Lawmakers Expand Stem Cell Research Bill With Third Lab Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 14, 2006

Trenton, NJ ( — New Jersey lawmakers have expanded a bill that would use $200 million in taxpayer funds that would partly go toward embryonic stem cell research. They added a third stem cell research lab that would be based in Newark and involve the study of adult stem cells.

The Senate and House both added the amendment with funding for the new facility to their respective stem cell research bills. The new lab would be run by the Jersey Institute of Technology.

The current bill called for spending $150 million for a New Brunswick based institute and $50 million for a research center in Camden. They would be based at Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

The $50 million for the third center would come from borrowing against revenue expected to be generated from cigarette taxes, according to a Gannett State Bureau report. Funds for the original parts of the bill 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.

The state Senate signed off on the amendment on Monday.

The Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee approved the amended legislation on a 9-2 vote but did not include the money for the third research facility in its version.

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.

During the Senate’s hearing on the bill, 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.

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.