Florida Legislature Considers State Funding for Embryonic Stem Cell Research February 08 2007
Ellaine Merritt, emerritt @ aproundtable.org
SB 750 (Geller) / HB 555 (Sands): Biomedical Research
Filed 1/23/07, committee assignments pending SB 750 and HB 555 seek to expand the current Florida Biomedical Research Program to include state funding of $200 million over the next ten years for embryonic stem cell research or adult stem cell research. This expansion will be referred to in state law as “The Florida Better Quality of Life and Biomedical Research Act” (s. 381.99 F.S.).
DETAILS: Two state appointed advisory councils will be created:
• Stem Cell Research Advisory Council - (in part) will develop the grant program for the advancement of embryonic, amniotic, OR human adult stem cell research.
• Biomedical Ethics Advisory Council – will review all embryonic, amniotic, OR adult stem cell research to ensure adherence to federal safety guidelines.
• $20 million will be appropriated to stem cell research every year through FY 2017.
• There is NO GUARANTEE that adult stem cell research will get a dime! The text of the proposed statute specifies "embryonic OR adult stem cell research." The Florida Secretary of Health will determine which research is funded, based on recommendations from the Stem Cell Research Advisory Council.
ACTION: 1. Contact your state representative and ask him / her to protect our tiniest humans from experimentation by opposing HB 555.
2. Contact your state senator and ask him / her to protect our tiniest humans from experimentation by opposing SB 750.
3. Emphasize in your communication that adult stem cell research has documented success without the destruction of human life.
Embryonic stem cell research has no successful track record and requires the destruction of life. Write or call TODAY! Committee hearings will be conducted in February.
The Florida Legislature will begin its regular session on March 6th.
Contact information: Florida Senate - www.flsenate.gov (type in your zip code on the bottom left of the web page)
As the Legislature considers these bills, there are also two organizations seeking to change state law by putting the issue before the voters in 2008.
• Floridians for Stem Cell Research and Cures, Inc. intends to put forward ballot language that would require the state to spend $200 million over 10 years on embryonic stem cell research (no adult stem cell research).
• Citizens for Science and Ethics, Inc. intends to put forward ballot language that would prohibit the state from using taxpayer funds for experimentation that destroys live frozen embryos.
It is critical to understand that there is no difference in the humanity of an embryo and a fetus or newborn. There is only a difference in size and maturity. The sum total of our genetic information is gathered inside the first cell at the time of fertilization. Florida’s policy should not permit the use of taxpayer funds for the destruction of life in human embryos for the purpose of experimentation.