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Embryonic stem cell research allowed in California

23 September 2002
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 176

Gray Davis, the Governor of California, US, has signed a bill that allows state-funded human embryonic stem cell (ES cell) research to take place in the state. The move is a direct challenge to the policy of the Bush administration, and is expected to attract scientists to California who wish to conduct research into cures for a number of ailments, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and spinal cord injuries.

President Bush - who is widely known to be opposed to research on human embryos - has restricted federal funding for ES cell research and listed a number of specific existing stem cell lines that are the only ones on which research can take place. Privately funded research using stem cells, even those created specifically for the purpose, is able to take place in America.

Under the new Californian law, fertility clinics must advise women that they have the option of donating any 'surplus' embryos for use in stem cell research. It requires the couple who created the embryo to give their written consent.

Senator Deborah Ortiz, who co-sponsored the bill, said that it 'sends a message not only to Congress but other states: California believes this is important to do. Here is a model'. Congress has not yet passed any laws curbing stem cell research, but if it does, the legislation might supersede the new California law. Michael Manganiello, head of the US Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR) welcomed the bill, saying 'we hope it encourages our Senators and congressmen in Washington to seriously consider supporting similar federal legislation'.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Bill boosting stem-cell research to be signed
LA Times |  22 September 2002
California to enact bill promoting stem cell research
The Washington Post |  22 September 2002
Davis OKs stem cell research. California is first state to encourage studies
San Francisco Chronicle |  23 September 2002
Davis signs nation's first stem-cell research bill
The Mercury News |  23 September 2002
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