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Florida Governor Seeking Ethical Stem Cell Research

Supports Funding Investigation of Non-Embryonic Sources

TALLAHASSEE, Florida, JAN. 31, 2007 ( Governor Charlie Crist wants to give state money to stem-cell research, but only the kind that doesn’t involve the future destruction of human embryos.

Crist said today that he will recommend state lawmakers authorize a $20 million grant to fund research with stem cells obtained from adults, umbilical cords and amniotic fluid.

The governor’s statement lends his support to a bill filed in the Florida House by Representative Anitere Flores.

Michael Sheedy, associate director for health at the Florida Catholic Conference, praised Flores for “sponsoring legislation that establishes an ethical framework for research,” adding that “we are very encouraged that Governor Crist is supporting her bill.”

Still, the Catholic conference calls the bill “imperfect” because of a provision which echoes a decision made by President George Bush.

In August 2001, Bush decided to allow federal funding for a few dozen embryonic stem cell lines in existence at that date.

“Including the provision to fund research utilizing the federally approved lines in existence in August 2001 is an imperfect approach, because it relies on the previous destruction of defenseless human embryos,” Sheedy added. “However, we will not object to it, since it precludes funding for future destruction of human embryos.”

The Flores bill also includes a provision against cloning.

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