updated 1/7/2004 2:49:03 PM ET 2004-01-07T19:49:03

New Jersey became the second state to allow stem cell research on Sunday as Gov. James E. McGreevey signed a law he said will “move the frontiers of science forward.”

  1. Don't miss these Health stories
    1. Splash News
      More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be?

      Rates of women who are opting for preventive mastectomies, such as Angeline Jolie, have increased by an estimated 50 percent in recent years, experts say. But many doctors are puzzled because the operation doesn't carry a 100 percent guarantee, it's major surgery -- and women have other options, from a once-a-day pill to careful monitoring.

    2. Larry Page's damaged vocal cords: Treatment comes with trade-offs
    3. Report questioning salt guidelines riles heart experts
    4. CDC: 2012 was deadliest year for West Nile in US
    5. What stresses moms most? Themselves, survey says

Stem cell research, which has been strongly opposed by anti-abortion groups and the Roman Catholic church because it involves the use of fetal and embryonic tissue, is also permitted in California and bills are pending in Illinois and New York.

McGreevey was joined Sunday by Christopher Reeve, the actor who was paralyzed by a 1995 fall from a horse and has become an advocate for increased funding for medical research.

“Today we celebrate the possible in our state,” McGreevey said. “It is our obligation as a people and as a state to move the frontiers of science forward.”

Federal funding limited
Embryonic stem cells used for research are grown in a laboratory and do not involve pregnancy. Scientists hope to someday direct stem cells to grow into replacement organs and tissues to treat a wide range of diseases.

President Bush, citing ethical considerations, has limited federal funding for embryonic stem cell research to existing lines of cells.

Opponents of the bill said they were disappointed but not surprised that McGreevey signed it.

“We were hopeful that perhaps he would take the expert opinions and concerns into consideration before formulating his final decision, which unfortunately he did not,” said Marie Tasy of New Jersey Right to Life.

Reeve said although many people have asked what stem cells could do to cure his spinal cord injury, “it is not about what stem cells will do for one individual.”

“What it’s about, this legislation, is about whether or not we have the courage to protect the freedom of ethical and responsible scientific inquiry,” Reeve said.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments