A committee in the Iowa Senate has voted to ease the Iowa law which has effectively barred medical research using human embryos. The bill passed on a party-line vote, with Democrats like Senator Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City, saying so-called “stem cell” research holds great promise.
“Stem cells offer the possibility of a renewable source of replacement cells and tissues to treat many diseases and disabilities — diseases like diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease, spinal cord injuries, heart disease and others,” Bolkcom said. The 2002 law was drafted to prevent human cloning and backers of the change say the bill, if it becomes law, will allow so-called “therapeutic” cloning.
All the Republicans on the committee, including Senator Jerry Behn of Boone, objected to the bill. “We’re talking about lifting the ban on human cloning — pure and simple,” Behn said. The bill will next be debated by the full Iowa Senate.
Governor Chet Culver has indicated he would sign the bill into law if it reaches his desk. Culver has also called for spending 12-and-a-half-million dollars to establish a center at the University of Iowa where such research would be conducted.