The Iowa Senate on Thursday approved funding for various building projects, including a new bio-medical research facility at the University of Iowa. Jerry Behn , a Republican senator from Boone, sought to add an amendment to ban on a certain type of stem-cell research, a cloning technique known as somatic cell transfer, from being done at the new facility. He called the research a "slippery slope."
"Cloning is simply unnecessary," Behn said, "and many Iowans find it unethical." He says the cloning of human embryos "has been almost universally banned around our planet." The legislature earlier this session approved a bill to legalize somatic cell transfer, and the governor signed it into law.
Des Moines Democrat Matt McCoy said the legislature has made itself clear on the matter. "Biomedical research at the University of Iowa is really the science of saving lives," McCoy says. The Des Moines senator says the state has made an investment in it.
McCoy says they’ve had the difficult debate on the subject, several times. He says this week’s bill is only about appropriating the money for the building. The bill legalizing the controversial research provoked hours of passionate debate. Senator Behn’s amendment to limit the research at the new U-I facility was defeated by a vote of 22 to 26.