by Steven Ertelt
December 17, 2006
Trenton, NJ (LifeNews.com) — The New Jersey legislature has finalized approval of a bill that would have the state spend $270 million on new stem cell research centers. Pro-life groups opposed the measure because the taxpayer money would partly fund embryonic stem cell research that destroys human life and is nowhere close to helping patients.
The measure includes $150 million to build stem cell research institutes in New Brunswick, Camden, and an adult stem cell research facility at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark.
The state Assembly approved the bill on a 53-24 vote with four Republicans joining all forty-nine Democrats voting for it.
Marie Tasy, the director of New Jersey Right to Life, decried the vote and said it would result in "the exploitation of women and the mass production of cloned human embryos and fetuses for use in destructive experimental research."
Tasy pointed to a 2003 law which allows scientists to clone and kill human embryos for research purposes.
"[Scientists] will have absolute authority to clone and kill human beings through the embryo, fetal and newborn stages for their organs, parts and tissues,” Tasy said.
The measure is part of a two-bill package that also includes legislation to put a referendum on the state ballot to borrow $230 million for stem cell research. New Jersey would borrow that amount over seven years.
The Senate approved that measure 26 to 9 in July but would need to vote again because of changes to the bill in the Assembly.
Before the Senate vote, pro-life lawmakers failed in an attempt to make sure the funds would be spent on adult stem cells but not embryonic ones.
Sen. Anthony Bucco, a Republican, tried to add an amendment to the bill to not fund embryonic stem cell research because it isn’t anywhere close to producing cures for patients. Adult stem cells have already yielded dozens of treatments for various diseases.
The Senate rejected Bucco’s amendment on a 23-14 vote.
Tasy echoed the concerns of lawmakers when she said the state "can ill afford to drive up the state debt, especially when the state is facing a $2 billion budget shortfall and legislators are supposedly clamoring for property tax reform."
Related web sites:
New Jersey Right to Life – https://www.njrtl.org