Virginia Gov. Kaine restricts funding for fetal and embryonic stem cell research

Virginia Governor Tim Kaine
Virginia Governor Tim Kaine

.- Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, on Monday signed a bill banning the use of some state funds for in-state research on human embryonic stem cells and cells or tissue derived from induced abortions. The bill was part of legislation intended to promote “science and technology-based” research and development in Virginia, CNN’s Political Ticker reports. Virginia’s General Assembly inserted language that would prevent a state fund from financially supporting organizations or businesses that undertake “research in Virginia on human cells or tissue derived from induced abortions or from stem cells obtained from human embryos.”

Gov. Kaine will assume a full-time role as Democratic National Committee chairman after he leaves office in January. He was named chairman at the behest of President Barack Obama, who in March lifted President George W. Bush’s restrictions on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research.

The platform of the Democratic Party advocates funding embryonic stem cell research. Describing it as “research that could save lives,” the platform argues the embryonic cells would otherwise be “discarded” and “lost forever.”

According to CNN, Lynda Tran, the governor's communications director, said Gov. Kaine’s decision is “in keeping with his faith and his personal beliefs.”

“The governor is opposed to the use of state funds to fund embryonic stem cell research, but he generally agrees with the national platform broadly, that there are scientific values to stem cell research,” she said. “In Virginia, where there has been strong opposition to embryonic research, he has chosen to focus on other forms of research like adult and placental stem cell research.”

Gov. Kaine, a Catholic, worked as a Jesuit volunteer in Honduras but supports permissive abortion laws.

On Monday the governor also signed legislation that would permit “Choose Life” license plates in Virginia, a move which angered state and national abortion advocates.

The three Democrats who hope to succeed Kaine as Virginia governor, Terry McAuliffe, Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds, all support using state money for embryonic research.

A spokesman for Republican candidate for Virginia governor Bob McDonnell said the candidate opposes state funding for embryonic research but supports other forms of stem cell research.

"Adult stem cell research avoids the ethical questions associated with taxpayer funded embryonic stem cell research," McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said, according to CNN. "Bob McDonnell believes we should focus tax dollars on research methods where there is common ground.”


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