by Steven Ertelt
June 8, 2006
Lansing, MI (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life lawmakers in the Michigan legislature are promoting an adult stem cell research bill as an alternative to a measure that would repeal the state’s ban on embryonic stem cell research. The legislators said they want the state to spend $5 million to create a stem cell bank to store umbilical cord blood and adult stem cells.
The measure to overturn the embryonic stem cell research law has stalled thanks to opposition from pro-life lawmakers and pro-life groups such as Right to Life of Michigan and the Michigan Catholic Conference.
The adult stem cell bill is seen as a less controversial way to promote stem cell research. It would use funds from the 21st Century Jobs Fund to fund the stem cell bank.
"We can turn medical waste into miracles that can save lives," Republican state Rep. Leslie Mortimer, one of the sponsors of the bill, told the Lansing State Journal. The measure will be introduced later this month.
Rep. David Law, also a Republican, told the Journal that the measure is necessary because so many lawmakers disagree with embryonic stem cell research and its destruction of human life.
"It makes sense to promote medical advances that are successful and have great potential, without the ethical concerns that are inherent with creating and destroying embryos," he said.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm supports lifting the embryonic stem cell research ban and the bill to overturn it received a hearing in March in the House Health Policy Committee.
But pro-life groups say adult stem cell research is more ethical because it doesn’t involve the destruction of human life. They also say it has proven far more effective since dozens of treatments for people have already been produced.
"The benefits of adult stem cell research are making headlines across the globe as thousands of people are walking, seeing and moving again after undergoing adult stem cell therapy," Michigan Catholic Conference representative Paul Long told legislators.
"The facts are that nearly 30 years of public and private financing for embryonic stem cell research have failed to produce any positive gains, while advancements with adult stem cells are occurring on a daily basis," he explained.
"We want cures, too," Right to Life of Michigan legislative director Ed Rivet added. "But we have different means to achieving them."
The University of Michigan has become a leader in the field of adult stem cell research.
Rep. Andrew Meisner, a Democrat, is the lead sponsor of the embryonic stem cell measure and claimed embryonic stem cell research had the potential to be the next big medical breakthrough after the invention of penicillin.
He says his bill increases the penalties for human cloning for reproductive purposes, but it leaves open the door to human cloning for research.
TAKE ACTION: Contact your state lawmakers and tell them you oppose any bill to expand or fund embryonic stem cell research. Go to https://www.legislature.mi.gov