By Gudrun Schultz
Florida, February 2, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Proposed legislation that would see Florida state funding limited to non-embryonic stem cell research has received the surprise backing of Gov. Charlie Crist.
Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink reported yesterday on the newly-elected governor’s surprise Wednesday recommendation that $20 million in grant funding be allocated to research using adult stem cells or those harvested from birth products and amniotic fluid.
“Every day, the miracles of science give hope to Floridians and their loved ones, and this funding will move stem-cell research forward,” Gov. Crist said.
The governor’s announcement comes as the Florida legislature considers two opposing proposals on stem cell research—along with the bill supported by Gov. Crist, another proposal would grant the funding to embryonic research efforts.
Dr. David Prentice, senior fellow for life sciences with the Family Research Council, told CitizenLink Gov. Crist’s decision showed wisdom and courage.
“I think it’s a very important lesson,” Prentice concluded. “The governor, as the leader of a state, can use his bully pulpit to get out there and say, ‘We really want to fund ethical research and this is the way to go.’ More governors need to follow Gov. Crist’s example.”
“I think this is an excellent sign,” Prentice said, “lining up not only with the ethical science, but with the successful science from adult stem-cell research.”
On April 15, 2007, the Florida Supreme Court will consider two ballot initiatives representing the two legislative proposals, meaning voters could have their say on the matter in 2008.
“The possibilities are that one or both will be on the ballot,” said Susan Cutaia, president of Citizens for Science and Ethics, which is sponsoring the proposed ban on embryonic stem cells.
“We feel confident that, by that time, there will have been sufficient discussion and dialogue on this issue that most people will come to the polls and make a right decision,” she said.
The stem cell research race continues to spread throughout the states, with eight states specifically endorsing embryonic research and more working on proposals to enter the competition, most notably New York—Gov. Elliot Spitzer recently proposed a $1 billion funding program that would challenge California’s lead in embryonic research.
Florida would not be alone in withholding funding from research on human embryos, however—Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa and North and South Dakota have all banned embryonic research, while others are working to limit state funding for it, including Arizona, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina and Ohio.
See related LifeSiteNews coverage:
New York Legislature Pledges to Outstrip Competitors in Funding Ambitious Embryo Research Project