State Funded Stem Cell Research Debates

Here are two more items relating to ongoing attempts to fund, legalize or ban stem cell research around the US.

In Connecticut:

Following in the footsteps of California and New Jersey as well as other US states, the Connecticut legislature may this year pass legislation allowing both adult and embryonic stem cell research - a bill the state's governor, Jodi Rell (R), has said she will sign.

...

"Last year, all we wanted to do was make sure that Connecticut was a supportive place for research in adult and embryonic stem cell biology," Krause said. "But now that proposition 71 has passed in California and there are funds to recruit stem cell biologists, they are going to be able to start to recruit people away from existing institutions in Connecticut."

In Massachusetts:

Democratic leaders on Beacon Hill vowed yesterday to immediately push legislation to promote stem cell research in the Bay State, hoping to blunt the appeal of California's $3 billion investment in stem cell research.

Looking back, now that various local governments are falling over themselves to fund or otherwise back embryonic stem cell research and regenerative medicine, I think it is a useful exercise to examine just how we came to this point. How did bans, threatened legislation and a lack of public support a few short years ago transform into the situation we see today?

Details aside, I think that it is important to recognize that this didn't "just happen." Given that medical advances have historically been accepted with enthusiasm after initial resistance, there is a tendency towards complacency amongst some supporters of healthy life extension. This is a dangerous attitude! A great deal of time, resources and hard work were necessary to make progress in this case, as for other advances in medicine, from penicillin to IVF technologies. The fight isn't over yet, either - anti-research legislation is still pending at the federal level.

You get the future you are willing to create, which is why activism for medical research is vitally important.

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