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Stem Cells and Cloning

Stem Cells

A stem cell is essentially a “blank” cell, capable of becoming another more differentiated cell type in the body, such as a skin cell, a muscle cell, or a nerve cell. Microscopic in size, stem cells are big news in medical and science circles because they can be used to replace or even heal damaged tissues and cells in the body. They can serve as a built-in repair system for the human body, replenishing other cells as long as a person is still alive.

Adult stem cells are a “natural” solution. They naturally exist in our bodies, and they provide a natural repair mechanism for many tissues of our bodies. They belong in the microenvironment of an adult body, while embryonic stem cells belong in the microenvironment of the early embryo, not in an adult body, where they tend to cause tumors and immune system reactions.

Most importantly, adult stem cells have already been successfully used in human therapies for many years. As of this moment, no therapies in humans have ever been successfully carried out using embryonic stem cells. New therapies using adult type stem cells, on the other hand, are being developed all the time.

Source: 2010 Stemcellresearchfacts.org

Cloning

Cloning-to-produce-children - Production of a cloned human embryo, formed for the (proximate) purpose of initiating a pregnancy, with the (ultimate) goal of producing a child who will be genetically virtually identical to a currently existing or previously existing individual.

Cloning-for-biomedical-research - Production of a cloned human embryo, formed for the (proximate) purpose of using it in research or for extracting its stem cells, with the (ultimate) goals of gaining scientific knowledge of normal and abnormal development and of developing cures for human diseases.

Human cloning - The asexual reproduction of a new human organism that is, at all stages of development, genetically virtually identical to a currently existing, or previously existing, human being. (CR)

Cloned embryo: An embryo arising from the somatic cell nuclear transfer process as contrasted with an embryo arising from the union of an egg and sperm. (CR)

Source: White Paper: Alternative Sources of Pluripotent Stem Cells The President's Council on Bioethics Washington, D.C., May 2005

How stem cell research and cloning applies to New Jersey:

In 2003, NJ passed the most extreme law in the country permitting human cloning and life destructive research on human embryos. The Senate Sponsors of the law were Senator Richard Codey (D-27), Senator Barbara Buono (D-18) and Joseph Vitale(D-19). The prime Assembly sponsor of the law was Assemblyman Neil Cohen who was later indicted, charged with, and plead guilty to, distributing child pornography. "Not only did Mr. Cohen access, print and distribute child pornography, he did it in his legislative office using equipment paid for by state taxpayers," said Criminal Justice Director Stephen Taylor in a press release issued on April 10, 2010 announcing Cohen's guilty plea.

In 2007, Cohen and Codey and the rest of the above sponsors tried unsuccessfully to pass a Ballot Question that would have borrowed $450M in bonds to fund unethical and impractical research. Although the actual ballot question was deliberately silent on the fact that taxpayers would have been on the hook to repay the bonds, NJRTL exposed this Loan to Clone Scheme and embarked on an educational campaign to inform voters that the bonds would be repaid by increased sales taxes and if those funds were insufficient, then the bonds would be repaid by increasing property taxes. NJRTL also became plaintiffs in a lawsuit to stop the referendum due to its deceptive nature of withholding important information from voters. Although the courts refused to stop the referendum, the voters sided with NJRTL and rejected it by a 53 to 47% margin. It was the first time in 17 years that NJ voters voted against a bond referendum.

Although the 2007 Referendum which would have funded this research with tax dollars was defeated by NJ voters, the original clone and kill law signed by Governor McGreevey still stands. NJRTL believes this law should be repealed which permits scientists to perform research involving human cloning and the use of human embryonic stem cell research, and we support legislation on the federal and state level that would ban these unethical practices which involve the deliberate killing of human beings.

To find out more about NJ's stem cell and clone and kill law, see the following link:
http://www.njrtl.org/clone/