University of Nebraska Regents Defeat Effort to Limit Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 20, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

University of Nebraska Regents Defeat Effort to Limit Embryonic Stem Cell Research

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 20
, 2009

Lincoln, NE ( — The University of Nebraska board of regents today defeated an effort to limit the embryonic stem cell research activity that takes place there because it involves the destruction of unborn human life. The current school policy is to engage in research allowed by the federal government, which includes ESCR.

The eight-member Board of Regents voted 4-4, which defeated the resolution that would have limited research to older embryonic stem cell lines and focused on adult stem cell research, the only kind to ever help patients.

Regent Jim McClurg of Lincoln cast the deciding vote against the resolution.

He had the endorsement of Nebraska Right to Life when he was elected to the board in 2006 but appeared to have turned on the pro-life group today.

NU President J.B. Milliken addressed the regents and urged a no vote while Dr. John Safranek, a Nebraska physician, said the research is wrong because it destroys human life.

The vote came after the passage last year of a bill that some claim is a compromise between pro-life advocates and the University of Nebraska board that prohibits using state resources to create or destroy human embryos for research.

However, pro-life advocates did not view it as such and, this week, the Nebraska Coalition for Ethical Research delivered 6,873 petitions to the regents calling for more limits.

Chip Maxwell, executive director of the group, informed that it also delivered a letter from 255 Nebraska physicians, researchers and medical professionals urging the regents to block expansion of human embryonic stem cell research at the college.

They explain that from a medical research perspective, embryonic stem cell research is not ethical and is not necessary for progress in stem cell research.

"It disproves the assertions that the Nebraska legislature said yes to expansion of embryonic stem cell research by passing LB 606 in 2008, and that the voting public supports it," Maxwell said.

The delivery of the petitions came after Nebraska Right to Life and other state pro-life groups recently asked the University of Nebraska Board of Regents to revisit its current policy on embryonic stem cell research.

Nebraska Right to Life director Julie Schmit-Albin told at the time, "Our opponents have been touting the ‘agreement’ with LB 606 as the definitive statement on unethical research policy in the state."

"The three senators most involved in the compromise behind LB 606 confirm what we have been saying all along, that LB 606 did not settle the policy of the Board of Regents which is a separate governing entity," Schmit-Albin continued.

"This coupled with documentation provided that Nebraska Research PAC was heavily involved in at least one Regent’s race in 2008, should put to rest the notion that LB 606 resolved the matter for the Regents," she said

Related web sites:
Nebraska Coalition for Ethical Research –
Nebraska Right to Life –

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