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Health and Human Services

Stem cell research

published 2/27/2007
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A bill to potentially further stem cell research was approved by a House division.

Sponsored by Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Mpls), HF34 would establish a state policy for stem cell research and permit the University of Minnesota to spend state monies on such research. It would also require health care providers treating infertility patients to provide information regarding the disposition of any human embryos after fertility treatment.

After discussion over two days, the House Higher Education and Work Force Development Policy and Finance Division approved the bill and referred it to the House Public Safety and Civil Justice Committee.

Proponents view research expansion as a potential way to discover cures for ailments such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s diseases.

It’s not enough to just work on blood cells because they don’t work with all diseases, said Jackie Hunt Christensen, who has Parkinson’s disease.

Opponents said that embryonic stem cell research terminates a human life and others expressed concern that his could ultimately lead to cloning.

An amendment put forth by Kahn, and successfully offered by Rep. Tom Rukavina (DFL-Virginia), the committee chairman, said “a person who knowingly engages or assists, directly or indirectly, in the cloning of a human being is guilty of a felony.”

A companion bill, SF100, sponsored by Sen. Richard Cohen (DFL-St. Paul), awaits action by the Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee.

- Mike Cook


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