by Steven Ertelt
December 20, 2006
Trenton, NJ (LifeNews.com) — New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine signed a bill on Wednesday that would have the state spend $270 million to build new stem cell research centers. The state legislature finalized the bill last week with the state Assembly giving it a 53-24 vote as four Republicans joined all forty-nine Democrats voting for it.
The measure includes $250 million to build stem cell research institutes in New Brunswick, Camden, Belleville and an adult stem cell research facility at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark.
“Stem cell research has the potential to save and extend lives and lead us to cures that have previously been beyond our grasp,” Corzine said. “This investment will position New Jersey as a world leader in cutting edge research and yield results that could touch lives around the globe.”
The bill also includes $10 million for the Eli Katz Umbilical Cord Blood Program in Allendale for the collection of umbilical cord, which contains large supplies of adult stem cells.
However, the stem cell research centers the measure provides funding for will also engage in embryonic stem cell research, which destroys human life. As a result, pro-life organziations like New Jersey Right to Life opposed it.
Marie Tasy, the director of the group, said the legislation 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.
Corzine’s signing of the bill comes after a Monday announcement that he will spend $10 million form the state budget on stem cell research.
Unlike the measure, which relies on the sale of state bonds to raise the funding, the $10 million involves the use of taxpayer funds and 70 percent of the grants will go to scientists using embryonic stem cells.
That puts the state in league with California, Illinois, Maryland and Connecticut as one of the first states to spend taxpayer funds on stem cell research.
Corzine said the grants were needed because of "absence of support at the federal level," however, the Bush administration has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on adult stem cell research, the only kind to show any progress with human patients.
The $7 million in embryonic stem cell research grants will go towards building embryonic stem cell research facilities while the $3 million in adult stem cell research grants will go to academic, nonprofit and for-profit institutions.
The bill Corzine signed 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.
Related web sites:
New Jersey Right to Life – https://www.njrtl.org