Maryland Stem Cell Research Bill Advances to Full House, OK Expected

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 27, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Maryland Stem Cell Research Bill Advances to Full House, OK Expected Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 27, 2006

Annapolis, MD ( — A stem cell research bill the state House previously approved has received committee approval and is back before representatives. But this version of the bill is vastly different from the one lawmakers saw the first time around as the state Senate watered it down.

The original House version of the bill spent $25 million annually in taxpayer funds on the research and put unproven embryonic stem cell research as a higher priority than using adult stem cells.

The Senate measure simply establishes a precedent for funding stem cell research and leaves the amount and type of research funded up to the governor. It also doesn’t authorize annual funding.

The Senate measure also makes sure two religious leaders would have input on the committee the bill establishes to determine how the funds are spent.

A Maryland House of Delegates committee approved the bill Friday and the state House is expected to approve it as well.

The committee voted 19-7 for the bill along party lines, with Republicans opposing the measure because they say it still would allow for the destruction of human life by supporting some embryonic stem cell research.

"Clearly it will be weighted to make sure more funding goes to embryonic stem cell research," said Del. Anthony O’Donnell, a Republican, told The Capital newspaper.

But Gov. Robert Ehrlich, a Republican, may still veto the bill.

He proposed $20 million in taxpayer funds for stem cell research and left it to the Maryland Technology Development Corporation, a government-business joint venture, to determine how the funds would be spent. The Senate cut the figure to $10 million.

Still, he said the Senate made good progress in modifying the bill.

"To some extent the philosophical orientation of the research itself has been minimized, not to my extreme pleasure, but we’ve made some progress there," Ehrlich said, according to the Baltimore Sun.

The House originally approved its measure on a 85-54 vote margin.

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