What Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele said during a question-and-answer period at the Baltimore Jewish Council on Thursday*:
Q Where are you on stem cell research?
AI think you know the governor and I have squared away where we are. I stand with the governor in terms of dollars. I can tell you straight up what my concern is. I'm very concerned when we start tinkering around with life and we're not careful and we get ahead of ourselves and that's the concern I have with embryonic stem cell research. I have members of my family who would definitely benefit . . . but my ethics and my conscience tell me that sometimes man can get a little bit ahead of ourselves. That's why I'm cautious. Embryonic stem cell research is still a developing science.
I am very concerned about the destruction of life. I think we have too much of a culture of death around us, so I promote life. . . . I don't know why people are so afraid to raise a flag of caution, why you can't say: "Let's think. Let's be careful. Let's be smart." This is a very slippery slope . . . and I'm concerned. Look, you of all folks know what happens when people decide they want to experiment on human beings, when they want to take your life and use it as a tool. I know that as well from my community and our experience with slavery. I'm a little bit more hesitant. Let's let the science help us create that path.
Stem Cell Research In the General Assembly
Budget Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has included $20 million in his budget to subsidize research using embryonic stem cells or the less controversial adult stem cells. A state-founded technology corporation would award the grants.
Legislation A bill before the General Assembly would provide $25 million for stem cell research involving only embryonic cells. President Bush has limited federal funding for such research. A similar measure died on the final day of last year's session under threat of a filibuster in the Senate. Leaders say they still don't have the votes to beat back a filibuster.
* Transcript is from a tape recording provided by Steele's office. Ellipses indicate unintelligible passages.