Pro-Life Group: Nebraska Regents Should Discuss Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 7, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Group: Nebraska Regents Should Discuss Embryonic Stem Cell Research

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 7
, 2009

Lincoln, NE (LifeNews.com) — A Nebraska pro-life group says that, in light of the new embryonic stem cell research guidelines the NIH has released, that the University of Nebraska Board of Regents should hold a special meeting. Nebraska Right to Life has written a letter to board chairman Kent Schroeder with the request.

Nebraska Right to Life is asking the regents to review NU’s current policy.

"Chairman Schroeder has indicated in the media that the issue of unethical medical research will not come up at the Regents’ September meeting as he will be absent and the issue is too important to discuss without the full Board present," Julie Schmit-Albin, director of the group, told LifeNews.com.

Schmit-Albin is frustrated because the regents had indicated they would be willing to discuss the policy but appear to be backtracking.

"The Regents already put off discussion of its policy governing unethical research earlier this year when NU President James Milliken asked them to wait until the commentary period on the new federal guidelines had elapsed," she explained.

"Pro-life organizations attended the April Regents meeting but did not call for action at that time, considering President Milliken’s request. Now the new regulations are in place and we are hearing that the Regents can’t take up this issue in September," the NRL leader added.

Schmit-Albin says Nebraska Right to Life has seen such delays before with embryonic stem cell research issues at the legislature.

"The University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) benefits from time elapsing with no action taken by the Regents," she told LifeNews.com.

She explained, "Our concern is a delay allows UNMC to enter the grants process for expanded embryonic stem cell lines. Once that process begins, their mantra becomes, ‘don’t put a stop to something already started.’ Then it becomes harder for the Regents to address their standing policy of following the Federal Administration’s guidelines."

Added to the NRL concern is a made by UNMC’s Dr. James Turpen in May at a Science Café event in Lincoln.

Turpen stated in the May 14 edition of the Lincoln Journal Star that "a public armed with facts and understanding of science is better able to appreciate and apply scientific advances and to vote knowledgeably on ballot issues and initiatives related to science."

Nebraska Right to Life wrote the Regents on May 15 about Dr. Turpen’s statements asking them to question UNMC about any potential move to put the question of unethical medical research on the ballot through the initiative petition process.

"Our concern is that UNMC could get around both the legislative and Regents’ process by getting cleverly-worded language into the Nebraska Constitution supporting unethical research," Schmit-Albin said.

Nebraska Right to Life is asking pro-life state residents to contact their Regents immediately to ask that a special meeting be called to address the Regents’ policy.

Related web sites:
Nebraska Right to Life – https://www.nerighttolife.org

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