House Removes Stem Cell Research Funding Ban

Gone like an unwanted frozen embryo in Texas

A tiny little provision added to the Senate budget bill, some would say surreptitiously, would have had powerful ramifications.

It would have banned the use of state funds for embryonic stem cell research, meaning many institutions could have lost state funding if embryonic stem cell research were conducted in their facilities, and some research already in progress could have closed down.

But the provision didn’t quite make it. Wednesday, Sen. Steve Ogden (R-Bryan), author of the provision and one-man stem cell research antagonist, announced that House and Senate negotiators could not come to a consensus on the provision and had decided to remove it.

“Legislators heard the message-loud and clear-from a public that supports this cutting edge research, and does not want to lose the benefits of having all forms of stem cell research being vigorously pursued in Texas,” said Texans for Advancement of Medical Research (TAMR) president Joe Brown.

Though his one-fell-swoop rider didn’t make the cut, Ogden hasn’t given up on fettering stem cell research as much as possible. He has introduced another bill that would require all state agencies and institutions of education to report any stem cell research they are conducting or funding, which has already passed a Senate committee.

Holly LaFon has written and worked for local publications including D Magazine and Examiner.

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