Florida Legislature to Consider Stem Cell Research, Human Cloning

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 26, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 26
, 2007

Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — The Florida legislature will consider two bills on stem cell research and human cloning this week and one enjoys support from the pro-life community while the other doesn’t. The debate features one bill that would force taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research and another that advances the use of adult stem cells.

The Florida Senate Health Policy Committee will consider the two bills on Tuesday.

SB 750, sponsored by Sen. Geller, would mandate state funding for embryonic stem cell research while SB 2496, sponsored by Sen. Haridopolos, would provide funding for the more promising adult stem cell research and would prohibit human cloning.

In an email to LifeNews.com, the pro-life group Florida Family Action said the bills represent "two contrasting approaches to medical research" and are "one of the critical battles we face today in trying to defend the sanctity of life."

The group urged pro-life Floridians to contact their legislature to support the Haridopolos bill and oppose the one from Geller.

Gov. Charlie Crist is backing the adult stem cell research funding bill after initially campaigning in support of embryonic research. He told the Gainesville Sun newspaper that the change in position has to do with the political reality that many legislators don’t want to fund the destruction of human life.

"What is important is that we get this started… that we have a dedicated funding mechanism," Crist has told reporters. "We have to start somewhere."

Rep. Franklin Sands, a Democrat, has also filed a bill, HB 555, that would require the state to spend $20 million on embryonic stem cell research.

Meanwhile, the Florida Supreme Court was asked last month to examine the constitutionality of two competing ballot measures that may appear during the 2008 elections. bio1897.html

One would ask state voters to prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to pay for embryonic stem cell research while the other would expressly allow it.

Both sides have been working to collect enough signatures to get their measures on the ballot and they both surpassed the 10 percent mark that then requires the state’s high court to evaluate the language

Backers of the pro-life proposal submitted their prohibition measure. It says "No revenue of the state shall be spent on experimentation that involves the destruction of a live human embryo."

Also, in December, justices received the text of the funding proposal which would force the state to spend $20 million annually for 10 years on embryonic research, which is nowhere close to helping patients.

Related web sites:
Florida Family Action – https://www.flfamily.org
Florida state Senate – https://www.flsenate.gov
Citizens for Science and Ethics – https://www.scienceandethics.org
Florida Right to Life – https://www.frtl.org