State Legislatures Take on Stem Cell Research

July 8, 2008

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Several state legislatures around the country have taken up the issue of stem cell research in 2008. Some have made advancements, while others continue to debate the subject. Below are updates describing states that have either passed or vetoed legislation involving stem cell research.

Louisiana: The Governor recently signed legislation into law that prohibits the use of any state or federal for research involving human somatic cell nuclear transfer.

Oklahoma: Legislature passed the "Advancement in Stem Cell Cures and Therapies Act," which states that research on human tissue regeneration and human diseases using adult stem cells and stem cells obtained from umbilical cord blood and amniotic fluid may be conducted in OK, provided the research meets certain specifications. The Oklahoma State Department of Health will establish a reporting system that collects information regarding all activities.

Connecticut: Legislature passed an act that makes changes in Connecticut's stem cell research law to reflect the acknowledgment of the "National Academies' Guidelines for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research." The act (1) amends the consent requirements for prospective embryo donors; (2) establishes standards to allow the use of human embryonic stem cell lines derived outside Connecticut; (3) requires that all human embryonic stem cell research conducted in the state be overseen by embryonic stem cell review oversight committees, rather than by "institutional review committees"; and (4) requires the state's Stem Cell Research Peer Review Committee members to use the guidelines when evaluating grant applications.

Minnesota: The Governor recently vetoed a bill that would have permitted embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) in Minnesota and also allowed the University of Minnesota to use state funds to perform such research. This legislation would have required health care providers to inform patients of options regarding disposition of unused human embryos, including donating embryos for ESCR.

New Jersey: Legislation dubbed the "Ovarian Health Protection Act" has been introduced in the New Jersey Legislature. This would prohibit procurement or use of human eggs for research or experimentation.

Rhode Island: Governor Donald Carcieri recently signed the "Umbilical Cord Blood Donation Notification Act," which relates to the stem cells inside umbilical cord. The new law requires hospitals and other obstetrical facilities and professionals to inform their patients of the option of donating umbilical cord blood to umbilical cord blood banks.

Colorado: Recently created the "Colorado Cures Act," which encourages voluntary donation of umbilical cords for the purpose of aiding in the cure of life-threatening diseases through the use of adult blood stem cells.

To learn more about the Academy’s position on stem cell research, please read the position statement. To learn how you can get involved, read the "Stem Cell Research" issues page on the Advocacy website.

For more information, please contact Tim Miller, Health Policy Analyst, at tmiller@aan.com or at (651) 695-2792.