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Florida funding of embryonic stem cell research (2008)

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The Funding of embryonic stem-cell research did not appear on the November 4, 2008 statewide ballot in Florida as an initiated constitutional amendment. The measure would have required $20 million dollars annually in stem-cell research for 10 years from the state.

Ballot summary

The initiative read:

This amendment appropriates $20 million annually for ten fiscal years for grants by the Department of Health to Florida nonprofit institutions to conduct embryonic stem cell research using, or using derivatives of, human embryos that, before or after formation, have been donated to medicine under donor instructions forbidding intrauterine embryo transfer. An embryo is “donated to medicine” only if given without receipt of consideration other than cost reimbursement and compensation for recovery of donated cells.[1]

Overview

There were two conflicting initiatives collecting signatures. The opposite of this initiative is the Florida Anti-Stem Cell Research Initiative (2008) which has been in the works since 2005. There were also two bills in the legislature that were discussing stem cell research:[2]

SB 2496, HB 1065: Would have allowed state money to be spent on stem-cell research using human adult, amniotic, cord blood, and placental stem cells through a grant program. But prohibits the use of state money for embryonic stem-cell research. The House bill, sponsored by Rep. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, was ready for debate on the House floor. The Senate bill, sponsored by Sen. Mike Haridopolos, R-Melbourne, had one more committee to clear before it headed to the Senate floor.
SB 750, HB 555: Would have allowed $20 million a year in state money to be spent on embryonic, amniotic, and adult stem-cell research for 10 years through a grant program. Sponsored by Sen. Steven Geller, D-Hallendale Beach, the bill had three more committees to clear in the Senate. The House version, sponsored by Rep. Franklin Sands, D-Weston, had not yet been discussed in committee.

Support

Florida Cures was the political action committee that sponsored the initiative. The group had 17 medical groups affiliated with it. Florida Cures believes that if medical groups were given grants to expand stem-cell research that cures could be found for Alzheimer's, Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Parkinson, and Spinal Cord injuries. This would have had a direct impact on Florida's aging population.[3]

Opposition

Citizens for Science and Ethics was the political action committee that opposed the initiative. The group believed the research should be privately invested in ethical research performed on stem cells derived from adult tissue, umbilical cord tissue, and placental tissue. The group also listed that paying higher taxes for experimental funding as a reason to oppose state-funded stem-cell research.[4]

The Florida Catholic Conference opposed the initiative because it degraded the value of human life.[5]

The former Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, also announced that he was against the state funding the research.[6]

Status

The initiative received approval from the Florida Secretary of State and was circulated. It did not make the ballot.

See also

References