Michigan Senate Passes Bill for Transparency on Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 23, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Michigan Senate Passes Bill for Transparency on Embryonic Stem Cell Research

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 23
, 2010

Lansing, MI (LifeNews.com) — The Michigan state Senate has approved a bill to require embryonic stem cell researchers to establish oversight committees and submit annual reports to the state. The measure is hailed by pro-life groups as providing regulations on the embryonic stem cell research voters approve over their objections.

In November 2008, Michigan voters voted to pass Proposal 2 and legalize the killing of human embryos in Michigan for research purposes.

"The language of Proposal 2 failed to provide any definitions or accountability. This package of bills draws clear parameters around this research as promised by the proponents and voted on by the people," says Right to Life of Michigan.

Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing added, "The debate over Proposal 2 is behind us."

"The Legislature’s job is to properly implement and enforce the proposal. Voters approved this measure expecting research would be limited to only excess human embryos, that there would be no buying or selling of human embryos and that parents would consent to their embryos being used for research," she said.

Cynthia Wilbanks, UM’s vice president for government relations, told the Detroit Business News he is upset at the passage of the bill.

He said they “create unnecessary and burdensome regulations governing embryonic stem cell research in the state” and “discourage our scientists from pursuing research that promises to improve the treatment of deadly diseases.”

Sen. Tom George, R-Kalamazoo, a sponsor of the package, also talked about the bill.

"I’d like to know how many embryos the University of Michigan has stored. Is it thousands, or three?" he said. "It’s an after-the-fact report — it does not discourage, obstruct or restrict research."

Advocates of the research have falsely claimed that the bills would restrict the ability of researchers to use the stem cell lines they create after destroying the embryos.

RLM says nothing in the bills restricts what researchers can do with the stem cells once they are harvested. An analysis of the Michigan bills shows that they are less burdensome than state regulations in California and Massachusetts, the two leading states in stem cell research.

Listing said, "The bi-partisan vote in the Senate demonstrates that the opposition to this legislation is little more than deceptive rhetoric, much like we saw in the Proposal 2 campaign. Research will not be affected by the basic oversight called for in these bills. If we do not put these measures into effect, we will have the unregulated and unrestricted scientific experimentation we warned about in 2008."

The bill faces opposition in the Democrat-controlled House where Speaker Andy Dillion has called it "political in nature."

Related web sites:
Right to Life of Michigan – https://www.rtl.org

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