June 17, 2009
While the federal government lurches toward ignoring patients and wasting more taxpayer dollars on unethical, unsuccessful embryonic stem cell research, there are some bright spots in several states where ethics, and real adult stem cell treatments, are being promoted.
Prohibiting Human-Animal Hybrids
SB 115 has been sent to Gov. Jindal for his signature (expected); it is a bill that would outlaw attempts to create a human-animal hybrid; transferring a human embryo into a nonhuman womb; or transferring a nonhuman embryo into a human womb.
Prohibiting State Funds for Human Cloning
In June 2008, the state passed a law to prohibit the use of any state money, or federal money channeled through the state, for the practice, known as somatic cell nuclear transfer (cloning).
Human Cloning Prohibited
In May 2009, Oklahoma passed a law that prohibits the creation of human embryos through cloning (somatic cell nuclear transfer) for the purpose of harvesting their stem cells and prohibits reproductive cloning (gestating cloned embryos for birth) (HB 1114).
Oklahoma Adult Stem Cell Research Gets $5.5 Million
Also in May 2009, the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust board voted to contribute $5.5 million to adult stem cell research.
Nation’s First Embryo Adoption Law
In May 2009 Georgia enacted a peach of a bill, the Option of Adoption Act. HB 388, sponsored by Rep. James Mills and Sen. David Shafer, allows legal adoption of human embryos.
Ethical Treatment of Human Embryos
Another bill working its way through the Georgia Legislature is SB 169, the “Ethical Treatment of Human Embryos Act”. Sponsored by Sen. Ralph Hudgens, the bill would ban the creation of embryos for research purposes and prohibit human cloning in Georgia. It passed the Georgia Senate in March 2009 and now awaits a hearing in the House, likely this Fall.
No Funds for Human Cloning at U MN
In May 2009, Gov. Pawlenty signed a higher education funding bill that includes language that prohibits the University of Minnesota from using taxpayer dollars to pursue human cloning. Last year he vetoed a bill that would have allowed the University of Minnesota to spend state funds on cloning and embryonic stem cell research.
No State Funds for Embryonic Stem Cell Research
In March 2009, Gov Kaine signed a budget bill that includes a prohibition on state funds for embryonic stem cell research. Virginia has been investing its funds into successful adult stem cell research.
Money for Adult Stem Cell Researchers
In February 2009, Gov. Perry announced that the state will invest $5 million to expand and recruit researchers to the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine’s Institute of Regenerative Medicine. As the Governor noted, “Commercialization of adult stem cell research will provide much-needed solutions for Texans suffering from various tissue and organ disorders while protecting the unborn from exploitation.”
The Texas Legislature moved part way toward helping that goal, with the Texas Senate in May 2009 passing a bill (SB 73) to establish a statewide adult stem cell research program. Unfortunately time in the session ran out before the House could consider the bill.
Texas Cord Blood Bank expands to Houston
In other Texas news, the Texas Cord Blood Bank formed partnerships with two of Houstons leading hospitals to collect blood from the discarded umbilical cords of healthy newborns; the cord blood adult stem cells can be used to treat various diseases. Houston has already shown its leadership in clinical trials using adult stem cells.
Money for Adult Stem Cell Research, No Clone Funds
In March 2008, Nebraska passed LB 606, a law that prohibits the use of state money, facilities or resources to conduct research that destroys human embryos or that creates cloned embryos for research or reproduction. The new law also will provide grants to encourage stem cell research by Nebraska institutions and researchers that does not use human embryos.