New Jersey Appeals Court Rules For Stem Cell Research Ballot Vote

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 25, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Jersey Appeals Court Rules For Stem Cell Research Ballot Vote Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 25,

Trenton, NJ ( — The state appeals court in New Jersey has ruled against a pro-life challenge to next month’s ballot vote on making taxpayers fund embryonic stem cell research which requires the destruction of human life. Pro-life groups say the proposal fails to disclose that the money will also pay for human cloning.

Gov. Jon Corzine and the state legislature backed a bill asking voters to approve borrowing $450 million to fund stem cell research grants over the next 10 years.

New Jersey Right to Life and the Legal Center for Defense of Life filed a lawsuit saying the proposal also does not tell voters that the bonds will be paid through higher local property taxes if sales tax revenues are insufficient.

Last month, Superior Court Judge Neil Shuster found the ballot question valid after a hearing and disagreed with the pro-life groups that the language is misleading.

On Friday, a three judge panel of the state appeals court said that including the information about the higher taxes and money for cloning would be too confusing to voters and make the wording of the ballot question too long.

Judge Clarkson S. Fisher Jr. said opponents of the measure should take their campaign to the people instead of the courts.

"Further debate about the meaning of the Act and its moral, fiscal and medical consequences is better left to the exchange of ideas and the political efforts of interested citizens," he wrote, according to an AP report.

Marie Tasy, executive director of New Jersey Right to Life, the group behind the lawsuit, said the organization is considering taking its case to the state Supreme Court.

"We obviously disagree and believe legislative sponsors did the voters a great disservice," Tasy said.

Should voters be able to vote on the measure, a new Rutgers-Eagleton poll found 57 percent of New Jersey residents support it while 36 percent oppose it.

New Jersey Right to Life and Catholic Church leaders are undertaking a campaign to urge voters to reject the measure but Corzine has said he will dip into his millions to fund a campaign to support the measure if pro-life advocates get some traction.

Meanwhile, the state will begin building a new stem cell research center paid for with public funds.

Governor Jon Corzine signed a bill that would have the state spend $270 million to build new stem cell research centers. 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.

Tasy said that backers of the construction are "shamelessly exploiting the sick and infirm with empty promises of miracle cures and false economic benefits."

She said they are misleading New Jersey residents because much of the study will involve embryonic stem cell research, which has yet to help any patients and has significant problems in animal studies.

Related web sites:
New Jersey Right to Life –