University of Nebraska Gets Funds From Obama for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 1, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

University of Nebraska Gets Funds From Obama for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 30
, 2010

Lincoln, NE ( — When the Obama administration announced earlier this week that it expanded taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research, the University of Nebraska Medical Center stood to benefit. UNMC expanded what pro-life groups call unethical research that involves the destruction of unique human beings for research that has never helped patients.

With the funding, the University of Nebraska procured a newly-released embryonic stem cell line.

That happened despite opposition from Nebraska Right to Life, says the group’s director Julie Schmit-Albin.

"We urged the Board of Regents in the Fall of 2009 to reject the Administration’s plans to expand the amount of new cell lines using human embryos,’ she told today. "Unfortunately, due to the abandonment of pro-life principles by Regent Jim McClurg, the opposing viewpoint prevailed, thus opening the floodgate for UNMC to pursue new unethical research."

In July 2009, UNMC’s Dr. James Turpen told the Omaha World-Herald that UNMC may seek funding of new cell lines "within two years."

Turpen also said UNMC "will not apply for funding immediately, because it takes years to develop effective proposals."

"Well that didn’t take long," Schmit-Albin responded.

"From November, 2009 when the Regents gave the green light to UNMC to five months later, they seem to have achieved their goal and one can only imagine how many other unethical cell lines they will be trying to nab beyond this one. We were concerned in 2009 that they were already applying for grants for the new lines, despite their protestations that they would not do so without Regents’ approval," the Nebraska pro-life leader said.

In late 2009, Nebraska Right to Life approached several state senators asking if they would re-visit the issue of prohibitions on embryonic stem cell research in the 2010 legislative session.

"Some groups and senators were reticent to proceed due to an agreement that was crafted during the cloning ban compromise on LB 606 in the 2008 session," Schmit-Albin told "Some felt that agreement precluded them from pursuing any other legislation regarding unethical medical research. Nebraska Right to Life disagreed with that conclusion but was not able to overcome the objections raised by some groups and senators."

"We know that Speaker Mike Flood feels he is bound by the LB 606 agreement and as a man of his word, does not feel comfortable breaching that agreement," she said.

But, that isn’t stopping the Nebraska pro-life group from seeking other pro-life senators willing to get involved.

"We would be happy to work with any senator who is compelled to act in this area but I’m not sure how they overcome the obstacle of those who feel bound by the LB 606 agreement. The only solution is to wait for those senators involved to be term-limited out and pursue something down the road," she said.

"However, by then, UNMC will be playing its well-honed ‘don’t stop us once we’ve started’ game," she laments.

Related web sites:
Nebraska Right to Life –

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