Governor Chet Culver wants legislators to set aside 12-and-a-half million dollars for construction of a stem-cell research center at the University of Iowa. During last year’s campaign, Culver touted creation of a “Center for Regenerative Medicine” and today he went to Iowa City to talk about the center and the state law he wants repealed — a law Culver says prohibits Iowa scientists from conducting stem cell research with human embryos.
“Iowa continues to tie the hands of our best health science professionals with an out-dated ban on this life-saving research,” Culver said at an Iowa City news conference this morning. The ban Culver wants lifted was established in 2002 and signed into law by former Governor Tom Vilsack, intended to prevent human cloning in Iowa.
“State government was not living up to its responsibility when it passed legislation making it nearly impossible to do embryonic stem cell research in this state,” Culver said earlier today. “In fact, it ended hope for many Iowans who suffer daily.”
Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says a debate about that controversial state law could begin as early as next week. Senate Republican Leader Mary Lundby of Marion says she wants to see details of the governor’s plan to make sure research at the proposed U-of-I center does not include human cloning.