New Jersey Embryonic Stem Cell Research Backers Proceed Despite Vote

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 8, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Jersey Embryonic Stem Cell Research Backers Proceed Despite Vote Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 8,

Trenton, NJ ( — New Jersey voters made their views clear this week on forcing taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research and human cloning. They voted 53 to 47 against a measure that would have made state voters spend $450 million over 10 years for research that has never succeeded in animals, yet alone helped humans.

Yet lawmakers say they are proceeding with building stem cell research centers financed by a bill the state legislature approved, despite what voters said.

Gov. Jon Corzine, who was rebuked after spending hundreds of thousands of his own money on the failed ballot proposal, said Wednesday that he understands the state’s fiscal house needs fixing before more research can be financed.

"I believe there are enough dollars for research," Corzine told the Gannett State Bureau. "And I believe there are opportunities to share with the private sector these facilities, and our universities as well, that will make this viable as we go forward."

The state legislature is moving ahead with borrowing the money it already authorized for the buildings but that has opponents of the ballot measure worried.

"They’re just going to do an end-run around the voter and the voters of New Jersey need to keep informed about these developments," New Jersey Right to Life director Marie Tasy said.

Republican Assemblywoman Amy Handlin agreed and told Gannett, "We need to slam on the brakes."

"The public has spoken it loud and clear, and I’m sorry that the governor and Senate president don’t seem to have heard that message," she said.

But Senate President Richard Codey and Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts Jr say they want to move ahead anyway.

"I would move ahead. That’s not new money, money spent on capital construction," Codey said. "I think by the time it’s built we will have the dollars by any means possible."

Still, he added that the legislature likely won’t ask voters to consider another ballot proposal next year.