by Steven Ertelt
May 19, 2006
Trenton, NJ (LifeNews.com) — The New Jersey state Senate has approved a measure that would have the state spend $250 million on embryonic stem cell research, including building three new stem cell research facilities at universities. Pro-life groups have condemned the legislation because the research involves the destruction of human life.
Having already debated stem cell research before in another bill, the Senate approved the measure by a 29-10 vote after little discussion.
The measure would include using taxpayer funds for a $150 million dollar facility in New Brunswick, a $50 million stem cell research center in Camden and another $50 million facility in Newark.
The money would be raised by borrowing money from investors who would be repaid using future proceeds from the state’s cigarette tax.
Pro-life groups condemned the vote and the bill as both an unethical measure and a financially imprudent one.
Marie Tasy, the director of New Jersey Right to Life, called the measure a "loan to clone" scheme "which will result in the exploitation of women and the mass production of cloned human embryos and fetuses for use in destructive experimental research."
She said the legislature ignored a NJRTL request to spend the funds only on adult stem cell research. Unlike its embryonic counterpart, adult stem cells have already produced dozens of cures and treatments.
“The Senate and Assembly Committees both ignored our request and made it clear that they planned to pursue unethical stem cell research even though it has not produced one cure,” said Tasy. “This legislation and the push behind it has always been about money and not about cures."
Tasy also said the vote made no fiscal sense because it comes at a time when the state is facing a $4 billion budget shortfall.
Sen. Thomas Kean Jr., a Republican, voted against the bill and said, because of the fiscal concerns, voters should have had a chance to voice their opinion about it on the state ballot.
Tasy also said the $150 million which will be spent on a stem cell research institute operated jointly by UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers University in New Brunswick presents problems.
UMDNJ is currently under a federal probe for “unethical and potentially illegal” activities involving the misspending of thousands in public funds, Tasy explained.
The House has yet to approve its version of the bill, which calls for $200 million to be spent. The Assembly health committee signed off on it and it has been sent to the appropriations committee, which has not taken it up.
Should the legislature finalize a bill, Governor John Corzine, who is pressing for a bill, will undoubtedly sign it.
Related web sites:
New Jersey Right to Life – https://www.njrtl.org