ANNAPOLIS, March 31, 2006 ( – The state of Maryland has passed legislation making $15 million available to scientists doing stem cell research, including that using embryos. The bill passed the House of Delegates yesterday, and has received a pledge from Republican Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. to sign it.Â

Early in March, pro-life legislators fillibustered to try to stop the legislation. Sen. Janet Greenip read from Dr. Jerome Lejeune’s book, “A Symphony of the Preborn Child,” in which he lays out the humanity of the embryonic child. Senator Greenip was joined by Senators Philip C. Jimeno and Ed DeGrange, Sr. all of whom supported the use of adult stem cells but opposed the killing of embryos.

During the debates, Gov. Ehrlich was quoted saying, “Keep the politicians out of it,” Mr. Ehrlich said. “Let the scientists do their thing.”

During the bill’s process through the legislatures, the word, “embryo” was changed to “material” to make it more palatable to Catholic legislators. Nancy Fortier of the Maryland Catholic Conference said of the change, “We’re offended by it. It is a cheap attempt to disguise what they’re doing. Everybody knows it’s about killing human embryos.”

Senator John A. Giannetti Jr., a self-described Catholic, said he thought the human embryo “is a form of human life,” but that he would vote for a bill that allows research. “I’m a Catholic and the whole specter of embryonic stem-cell research is very concerning for me. Other people don’t share my concerns.” he said.

According to Maryland Right to Life, the legislation allows embryos to be created for research and to be implanted in an artificial “uterus-like structure”, opening the door to the farming of embryos. The bill is another of the many that claim to prohibit cloning but actually allows it by the use of inaccurate definitions, a ploy common to “cloning bans” in many countries.

The legislation permits embryos (IVF or cloned) to be implanted in a uterus for up to 8 weeks, then mandates their killing.

Maryland Right to Life says that the bill defines living embryonic persons as “unused material.” This may allow researchers to create and destroy as many as they wish because there are no current laws regulating “unused material.”

Right to Life is urging pro-lifers to call Governor Ehrlich to veto the bill.

Governor Robert Ehrlich: (800) 811-8336

Maryland General Assembly Switchboard:
  Baltimore Area: 410-841-3000
  Washington Area: 301-858-3000
  Other Areas: 1-800-492-7122

Maryland Right to Life:


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