Senator Steve Ogden is a Texas Hero!
Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, though, said critics exaggerate what his 24-word “budget rider” would do. He said it simply assures that the budget’s $700 million for research doesn’t underwrite destruction of embryos.
“There is a significant moral concern amongst many Texans that a human embryo really meets every scientific definition of human life that’s out there and that we shouldn’t be using human embryos for scientific experiments,” Ogden said.
The dispute flared early last week. The Senate Finance Committee, which Ogden heads, took only two minutes late Monday to consider his rider. It says, “No funds appropriated under this act shall be used in conjunction with or to support research which involves the destruction of a human embryo.”
The provision was adopted, 6-5, with Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, joining four Democrats against.
The Dallas Morning News reports (free registration required) that some Texas embryonic research advocates claim this move will “embarrass” Texas. Of course, they also claim that embryonic stem cell research only involves “embryos that would be discarded, any way” Since we know that much of the research involves specially created, “disease specific” embryos, the latter is false.
And so is the first objection. Every week, we are reading about new ways to reprogram adult cells to achieve the stem cells that are needed to study and treat disease without ever going near an embryo. Former proponents of embryonic research and producers of new embryos for stem cell research like George Daley are switching their focus toward non-embryonic research. Texas researchers have been early stars in this research, among the first to using umbilical cord blood for stem cell research.
Texas doesn’t need to waste our money following the false trail of embryonic stem cell research when there is so much promise in more treatments, sooner, from non-destructive and non-embryonic research.