A legislative bill outlawing research on embryos, if signed into law, will hurt the state’s image among scientific communities and could even threaten the expansion of medical research here.
House Bill 1442, sponsored by state Rep. George Faught, R-Muskogee, makes it illegal to conduct any “destructive” research on embryos. It’s a so-called pro-life measure. The bill was passed by the House in a landslide 86-8 vote.
According to a House press release, Faught said:
We value life here in Oklahoma. And it is for that very reason that I am happy to run this Americans United for Life request bill banning the destructive research on embryonic stem cells. While we in no way dispute the fact that the ability to treat or heal suffering persons is a great good, we also recognize that not all methods of achieving a desired good are morally or legally justifiable.
Note the reference to Americans United for Life. This is how AUL covered the recent vote under the headline “Oklahoma House believes life more important than money.” It’s also questionable whether Oklahomans “value life” as they stop medical research that could lead to saving lives.
The bill’s supporters brush away the major fact that embryos used in stem cell research would have been discarded anyway. Ironically, then, the bill doesn’t do anything to prevent embryo destruction. It simply makes a political statement, a statement that will make Oklahoma seem anti-science and backwards.
Could the bill, if approved, mean less medical research money for Oklahoma? That’s a distinct possibility. Who wants to fund medical research in a state that might make it illegal down the road to do it?
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