$270 Million Loan to Clone Scheme Passes NJ Legislature; Headed for Governor's Desk -- Legislation is part of $500M package to fund clone and kill research
Contact: Marie Tasy, Executive Director, New Jersey Right to Life, 908-276-6620, firstname.lastname@example.org
CRANFORD, NJ, Dec. 15 /Christian Newswire/ -- Yesterday, the NJ Legislature approved bill S1471/A2828 by a vote of 53-24 with 3 abstentions. 4 Republicans joined all 49 Democrats to vote for final passage of the bill. "The Assembly members who voted for Big Biotech's Half a Billion Dollar 'Loan to Clone' Scheme helped advance research that will result in the exploitation of women and the mass production of cloned human embryos and fetuses for use in destructive experimental research," said Marie Tasy, Executive Director of New Jersey Right to Life.
Under a 2003 NJ law which established the framework for the type of research to be performed within the walls of these Institutes, researchers are authorized to clone and kill human beings for their organs, parts and tissues through the embryo, fetal and newborn stages. Tasy explained that the 2003 NJ law is the most extreme in the nation, if not the world. Click here for more information on NJ's 2003 clone and kill law: http://www.njrtl.org/core/newsletter_details.asp?ArticleID=327
The bill passed yesterday allocates $270M in bonds for capital construction costs of stem cell institutes. A second bill currently pending in the Assembly seeks voter approval for $230 M in bonds for the research. Both bills combined total $500M. "NJ can ill afford to drive up the state debt, especially when the state is facing a $2 Billion budget shortfall and legislators are supposedly clamoring for property tax reform," said Tasy. Under S1471/A2828, $150M of the $270 M will be spent on a stem cell research institute operated jointly by UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. UMDNJ is currently under a federal probe for "unethical and potentially illegal" activities including Medicaid fraud and the misspending of public funds.
"The Biotech Industry has manufactured baseless statistics and claims of economic benefits and miracle cures to try to garner political and public support for their shameful and misleading campaign to obtain taxpayer subsidized funding for embryonic stem cell research and cloning. The legislators who caved into the demands of the Biotech Industry and voted for this morally bankrupt scheme should be held accountable at election time for their irresponsible actions. This legislation and the push behind it has always been about money and not about cures," said Tasy.
New Jersey Right to Life has repeatedly pointed out to lawmakers that embryonic stem cell research has not provided a single cure and has been known to cause immune rejection and dangerous cancerous tumors when injected in animals.
New Jersey Right to Life has also expressed concerns about the risks to women from embryo cloning. "Since it is highly unlikely that there are enough left over embryos from NJ fertility treatments to meet the demands of researchers, there is a very real potential for exploiting NJ women, especially poor, minority and college-aged women who will be offered financial incentives to donate their eggs for cloning research," said Tasy. The list of dangerous health effects reported from the large amounts of hormones used in the egg extraction procedure includes memory loss, liver disorders, early osteoporosis, ovarian cancer and death.
"The NJ Legislature's approval of this bill is a shameful breach of the public trust." Tasy said the Legislature repeatedly ignored New Jersey Right to Life's request to limit the funding exclusively to life-saving adult stem cell research such as umbilical cord blood which is successfully providing cures and has none of the ethical baggage that embryonic and fetal stem cell research possess.
Upon passage of the legislation, the bill's sponsor, Assemblyman Neil Cohen made it abundantly clear through his comments that researchers' primary focus would be on unethical embryonic stem cell research.
NJRTL will publish and score yesterday's vote and make this information available to its members and the public.