Wide House Passage Of Embryonic Stem Cell Research Ban In Oklahoma Despite Concerns
The House overwhelmingly passed legislation Monday designed to prevent embryonic stem cell research in Oklahoma.
The measure by state Rep. Dan Fisher would make it a felony crime to perform embryonic stem cell research.
“Presently, the embryos are destroyed in the process of trying to extract these stem cells, and therefore that’s what this bill is attempting to prevent,” Fisher said on the House floor.
“The legislation is opposed by many doctors and business groups, who argue it could impede scientific research. During debate on the House floor, state Rep. Doug Cox, a physician, said it sends a chilling message to the scientific community.
"Would it not be possible to lock a scientist up in the county jail for up to one year, because under your bill, for conducting scientific research on stem cells from an embryo destined for destruction?” Cox asked.
Fisher said that was a fair question.
“The answer is yes, if they knowingly did that,” Fisher replied.
Fisher says he believes the destruction of human embryos amounts to murder and should be illegal.
“These families that have unused embryos that they don’t want, and don’t want to continue to preserve, can give those out to adoption to wonderful couples, many of them standing in line to receive these if they can find them,” Fisher said.
The bill heads to the Senate on an 80-13 vote. Similar stem cell research bans have failed in the Legislature in previous years.
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