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Stem Cell Measure Will Remain on New Jersey Ballot

A New Jersey judge ruled Monday that a ballot measure authorizing the state to borrow $450 million to fund stem cell research would remain on the November ballot, despite the objections of anti-abortion activists. The measure would allow the state to use money to fund federally restricted embryonic stem cell research as well as research on adult stem cells for ten years.

The New Jersey Right to Life (NJRTL) claims that the wording of the measure fails to disclose that it will “finance the creation, experimentation and then destruction of cloned human beings through the entire period of normal gestation.” But Superior Court Judge Neil H. Shuster ruled that the ballot question was “fair, balanced, and neutral” and that legislation authorizing the referendum specifically prohibits human cloning.

“Scientific discovery should not be held hostage by the ideological hang-ups of a select few,” said Assembly member Neil Cohen (D-Union) in a statement. “For the sake of all our neighbors, the individuals mounting this lawsuit should get out of the way of progress.”

In 2001, President Bush, announced that federal funds for embryonic stem cell research would only be used to study existing lines, greatly limiting scientists in their search for cures to diseases like Parkinson’s, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s . Five years later, Congress voted to expand this research, but Bush overrode this decision, in the first veto of his presidency. With the federal restrictions in place, many states including California, Connecticut, and Illinois, and Maryland have provided grants for expanded embryonic stem cell research, according to the Associated Press.

Sources:

Associated Press 9/24/07, 9/21/07; CNN.com 9/25/06, 8/10/01; The Star-Ledger 9/25/07; New York Times 9/25/07; New Jersey Right to Life press release 9/18/07