Today, the Oklahoma State House overwhelmingly voted to ban destructive embryo research in the state. Sending a resounding message, the chamber voted 86-8 to pass AUL’s model bill banning destroying embryos for research. The bill now heads to the state senate where it will be sponsored by Sen. Steve Russell.
The House bill, sponsored by Rep. George Faught, was opposed by the University of Oklahoma, the state Chamber of Commerce, and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation on the grounds that it would impede economic development in the state by limiting investment in embryonic research, despite the fact that adult stem cell research – particularly stem cells developed from the patients themselves – has proven most effective. The legislators roundly rejected that argument and instead argued on the floor that human life is more precious than economic development based upon destroying human life.
One of the foremost defenders of the bill on the floor was Rep. John Enns, a paraplegic who is confined to a wheelchair with a spinal cord injury due to a farming accident a few years ago.
In the days prior to the vote, high-paid lobbyists for the opposing groups led an all-out fight to kill the bill. AUL’s State Director April Miller worked hand-in-hand with Rep. Faught to ensure the bill was heard on the floor and receive and up-or-down vote.
Those same lobbyists are sure to fight the bill in the Senate. However, given the pro-life stand of that chamber, their best chance of killing the measure is to try to stop it from coming to the floor for a vote. AUL will continue to press the bill with all available resources.