Tuesday, March 14, 2006
© Copyright 2014
Gwinnett Daily Post
ATLANTA - The Senate passed legislation Monday aimed at encouraging stem cell research in Georgia.
Senators voted unanimously to create a "bank'' to accept donations of umbilical cord blood, placental tissue and amniotic fluid, byproducts of childbirth that are rich in stem cells. The bank would be run by one or more of the state's universities.
While the measure generated little discussion on the Senate floor, it was embroiled in controversy as it made its way through the chamber's Science and Technology Committee.
The original version of the bill drew strong opposition from Democrats and some scientific experts who claimed a provision banning human cloning effectively would have criminalized embryonic stem cell research in Georgia.
Sen. David Shafer, R-Duluth, the committee's chairman and the bill's chief sponsor, said he didn't want the measure to address embryonic stem cell research because of the national controversy surrounding using days-old embryos left over from fertility treatment for research.
Shafer also argued that embryonic stem cell research remains a theory, while more than 65 treatments and cures have been developed through research using "adult'' stem cells from umbilical cords.
"For all the hype about embryonic stem cell research, not a single one of those treatments and cures has come from an embryonic stem cell,'' he said.
But Shafer agreed to remove the section on cloning from the bill to get it through the Senate.
The bill now goes to the House.