Louisiana Governor Jindal Supports Radical Anti-Stem Cell Politics over Patient Health
In the special session of the Louisiana Legislature that ended on March 14, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal took an important stand for the future of biotechnology in the state. He called for, and achieved, an investment of $50 million for Pennington Biomedical Research Center, going so far as to open the legislative session on Pennington's campus alongside the facility's president.
A bill that passed out of committee on April 9 completely nullifies that commitment to scientific advancement. HB 370 by Rep. Cameron Henry, WHICH IS SUPPORTED BY GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL AND HIS ADMINISTRATION, prohibits the use of public funds - state or federal - for stem cell research. The bill defines human cloning as "somatic cell nuclear transfer," which is not the case. There are important scientific differences between human reproductive cloning and SCNT, also known as therapeutic cloning.
Let's ignore for a minute the constitutionality of a state government prohibiting the federal government's giving money to a private institution and focus on the issue. SCNT is NOT human cloning. The scientists that conduct the potentially lifesaving research that is being discussed do not want to clone humans. SCNT utilizes unfertilized eggs and does not result in life, unlike actual human reproductive cloning. SCNT doesn't create life, it saves lives.
One legislator went so far as to compare research being done by today's scientists to Nazi experiments on Jews in World War II, saying any good that may come from such research is not worth the lives lost. This legislator even told a father testifying about his daughter's disease that it was the father's "opinion" that the life of his daughter was more important than a cell in a Petri dish.
Governor Jindal, his administration, and the majority of the members of the House Committee on Health and Welfare have chosen to ignore the facts, ignore the potential for research and ignore the cries for help from patients in need - all in order to cater to one loud, radical special interest.
It is outrageous to think that the Republican Party is still considering Louisiana's Governor Jindal as a potential vice president after hypocritical, dangerous actions such as this. If they want him, fine. Our children with diabetes, our parents with degenerative diseases, and all our afflicted patients will be glad to see him go.