by Steven Ertelt
February 6, 2007
St. Paul, MN (LifeNews.com) — Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said on Monday that he would veto a bill that used taxpayer funds to pay for embryonic stem cell research because it requires the destruction of human life. He said the state legislature should join him in promoting the use of adult stem cells, the only ones to help patients.
Pawlenty made the comments at a meeting with the Minnesota Family Council, a state pro-life group.
"We should be for certain types of stem cell research," the governor said. "I do not support wide-open embryonic stem cell research."
Pawlenty said he supports adult stem cell research or studies into methods of embryonic stem cell research that don’t involve the destruction of human life. He also said he would be open to funding work using embryonic stem cells but only if they currently exist.
What he won’t support is new embryonic stem cell research funding where human embryos will be destroyed using tax dollars.
The statement is important because state legislators are considering a bill sponsored by Sen. Dick Cohen, a Democrat, which would fund both adult and embryonic stem cell research.
Cohen told the Associated Press that he doesn’t think the legislature will change the bill to meet Pawlenty’s restrictions.
"When politicians start interfering with this stuff for ideological purposes they’re not furthering the true research," Cohen said.
Rep. Phyllis Kahn, another Democrat, agreed with his assessment and said Pawlenty was going in a "false direction."
Kahn has her own bill and it will get a hearing in a state House committee on Monday. It could move through the legislature now that Democrats control the House. Previous bills forcing taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research received approval from the Senate but died in the Republican-controlled House.
Tom Prichard, president of the Minnesota Family Council, hailed Pawlenty’s remarks and said the governor is more in tune with pro-life advocates than the state legislators behind the funding bills.
"It can become a moving line that people can change in the future and expand the number of lines," Prichard told AP. "There are lots of other vehicles out there and the adult stem cells is where the successes have been."