Iowa Gov Wants Tax-Funded Embryonic Stem Cell Research, No Cloning Ban

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 29, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Iowa Gov Wants Tax-Funded Embryonic Stem Cell Research, No Cloning Ban Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 29
, 2007

Des Moines, IA ( — In an announcement at the University of Iowa, Governor Chet Culver laid out plans for spending $12.5 million in taxpayer funds to pay for an embryonic stem cell research center at the college. But first, he says the state legislature needs to lift the current ban in place prohibiting human cloning for research purposes.

"Today, I call on the Iowa State Legislature to repeal the ban on stem cell research in this state so that we can restore hope for thousands of Iowans,” Culver said at the event.

Once that’s done, he will spend millions funding the destruction of human life for research at the Center for Regenerative Medicine scheduled to be built at the University of Iowa.

“Simply lifting the ban will not be enough,” he said, according to a statement obtained. “We must commit state resources now to finding a cure and ensuring a high quality of life for future generations."

Culver refers to the ban as prohibiting embryonic stem cell research, though it prohibits the scientific process known as somatic cell nuclear transfer — the technical term for human cloning.

Former Gov. Tom Vilsack, a Democrat considering a bid for the presidency, signed the ban into law in 2002, though he now says he wants it overturned.

According to Culver aides, the biotech center would be funded with $2.5 million from the current budget and $10 million from the budget for the fiscal year that begins in July.

In a letter about Amendment 2 in Missouri last November, a group of scientists including over two dozen experts in science, medicine, law and ethics released a joint letter about human cloning.

"Human cloning is the asexual production of a new living organism, at any stage of development, that is genetically virtually identical to an existing or previously existing human being. It is done through somatic cell nuclear transfer," they explained.

The signers include experts in embryology, microbiology and maternal/fetal medicine, as well as past and present members of the President’s Council on Bioethics and several founding members of Do No Harm: the Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics.

Some of the researcher hailed from top universities such as Oregon Health & Science University, Louisiana State, Harvard University, University of Utah School of Medicine, Princeton University, University of Oklahoma, and the Georgetown Medical Center.

The text of the letter can be found here.