Stem Cell Research Timeline 2007 Continues

bridges vol. 15, September 2007 / Bills in Brief: S&T Policy News

As his final action on the Stem Cell policy timeline, President Bush announced his veto of the Stem Cell Research Act of 2007. The veto did not crush the fervor of the debate in the nation, as the states continue to mold the debate in their own hands. However, the debate platform has shifted from states like New Jersey or California, where more legislative progress has been made in favor of stem cell research, to the heartland of America where the research - specifically embryonic stem cell research - has been met with strong opposition. The issue of human cloning has resurfaced as the debates turn toward somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT).

In all states where stem cell research policy and funding debates have been front-and-center, scientists are constantly reminded that if the state's legislative bodies bend to the will of anti-abortion activists who oppose human embryonic stem cell research, they stand to lose funding and jobs. By the same token, state governments must also consider that if they side with activists, they stand to lose a great resource - brainpower - a valuable portion of a state's worth. States hoping to profit from the projected curative potential of stem cells will have a hard time establishing themselves as locations for the industry if their policies make it difficult, or if support is withdrawn for scientists whose work requires human pluripotent stem cell lines.

The following timeline highlights this quarter's stem cell research policy developments:

{access view=guest}Access to the full article is free, but requires you to register. Registration is simple and quick – all we need is your name and a valid e-mail address. We appreciate your interest in bridges.{/access} {access view=!guest} · July 23, 2007: Missouri suffers setbacks despite the amended stem cell protection act, but some research institutions and lawmakers withdraw their financial support.

· July 26, 2007: New Jersey Governor Jon S. Cozine signs the New Jersey Stem Cell Research Bond Act, a $450 million bond referendum that will provide funding for stem cell research grants to institutions over a 10 year period.

· August 9, 2007: A supporter of stem cell research, the office of Gov. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan pulled their link to a petition supporting stem cell research after Christian-oriented Thomas More Law Center filed suit, claiming that using a public resource discriminated against those who opposed embryonic stem cell research.

· August 22, 2007: Cures Without Cloning, an advocacy group that opposes the taxpayer-funding of somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), cloning, or embryonic stem cell research, filed ballot language with the Missouri Secretary of State's office for a state constitutional amendment to prohibit funding for any type of research that would involve human cloning.

· August 28, 2007: Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed bill SB4 that allows public funding for all types of stem cell research, including human embryonic stem cells and somatic cell nuclear transplantation.,1,2034356.story

· September 18, 2007: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a plan to begin implementation of President Bush's June 20 Executive Order: Expanding Approved Stem Cell Lines in Ethically Responsible Ways, which mandates the search for alternative methods of obtaining pluripotent stem cell lines without creating human embryos for research purposes or destroying or damaging a human embryo or fetus.

· The Legal Center for Defense of Life filed a complaint on behalf of New Jersey Right to Life and other citizens to prevent the proposal for borrowing $450 million to fund stem cell research from being listed on the November elections ballot. The complaint was filed in New Jersey's Superior Court and contends that the question doesn't address the fact that the borrowing would fund human cloning or that the debt from the funding would be repaid from property taxes.