Legislators in Conn., Mass. Approve Stem Cell Bills

Associated Press
Wednesday, June 1, 2005

HARTFORD, Conn., May 31 -- The Connecticut House of Representatives gave final approval Tuesday to a 10-year, $100 million plan to fund stem cell research in an effort to position the state to compete in the emerging scientific field.

The state Senate has approved the measure, which goes to Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who has said she would sign it into law.

In neighboring Massachusetts, state lawmakers overturned Gov. Mitt Romney's veto and approved a bill designed to move their state to the forefront of stem cell research. The bill immediately became law.

Proponents of Connecticut's measure, pointing to a $3 billion investment in California and a proposed $380 million investment in New Jersey, framed the issue in economic terms.

Some scientists believe the cells can be coaxed to become any tissue in the body, offering the potential to provide cures Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, diabetes, and spinal cord injuries.

Connecticut would prohibit growing research embryos past about 14 days -- or implanting them. It would require fertility clinics to give patients information about donating embryos but prohibit them from accepting payment for embryos, eggs or sperm.

Opponents said the bill permits the creation of life -- an embryo -- in order to destroy it.

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