The Minnesota House has approved legislation that would allow state money to pay for embryonic stem cell research. The DFL-controlled House passed the bill 71 to 62.
Supporters say embryonic stem cell research shows promise in treating a variety of diseases including Alzheimers, Parkinsons and cancer. They also note that many other states invest in the research, and warn that the University of Minnesota could be losing ground on developing treatments.
Rep. Phyllis Kahn, D-Minneapolis, said the legislation is needed, so that the University of Minnesota and other institutions can further the promising research.
"Stem cell research offers immense promise for developing new therapies for these debilitating diseases and conditions and a critical means to explore fundamental questions of biology," Kahn said.
Critics say the research is unethical because an embryo is usually destroyed in the process.
Rep. Dan Severson, R-Sauk Rapids, said he does not want any state money going to the research.
"Ya know, we've got a couple of diametrically opposed views here. One is that life is cheap and the other one is that life has value and the issue is when does that life begin," Severson said.
Governor Pawlenty has threatened to veto the bill. He's called for stricter standards on research involving embryos, and has emphasized the promise of adult stem cell research.
The House bill must be reconciled with a different Senate bill before the proposal goes to the governor.