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Hadassah Disappointed by New Jersey Vote on Stem-Cell Funding

Genever McBain

HADASSAH DISAPPOINTED BY NEW JERSEY VOTE ON STEM-CELL FUNDING

(New York, NY – November 7, 2007) – Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, is deeply disappointed at the failure of New Jersey voters to approve the public referendum on stem-cell research. If passed, The Stem Cell Research Bond Act would have authorized the state of New Jersey to sell a total of $450 million in bonds, providing $45 million a year over the next ten years to support ground-breaking and potentially life-saving stem cell research in the state.

According to Nancy Falchuk, National President of Hadassah, “The failure of this public question is a clear indication that while states, like New Jersey, have made incredible strides in trying to fill the gaps in federal support for stem-cell research, there is simply no substitute for federal funding. The federal government must step in and we implore President Bush to reconsider his position on federal funding, as the lack of funding is hampering scientific research. With 100 million Americans suffering from diseases – such as juvenile diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, and spinal cord injuries – that could potentially benefit from stem-cell research, time is of the essence.”

On August 9, 2001, President Bush issued an executive order limiting federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research to stem cell lines derived before that date. Although the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem is doing groundbreaking stem-cell research with one of the oldest, approved lines in existence, researchers agree it is imperative to introduce new lines in order to find potential cures and treatments for a range of debilitating diseases.

With this research as its basis, Hadassah in the United States has advocated for legislation that allows broader federal funding for stem-cell research. In addition, its army of grassroots advocates also have encouraged stem-cell funding and research on an individual state-by-state basis. To that end, in the spring of 2005, Hadassah launched SOS: State of Stem Cells, an initiative designed to educate elected officials about the importance of embryonic stem-cell research and advocate for legislation that advances this research. In a period of six weeks, Hadassah delegations visited all 50 state capitals addressing the issues with their legislators.

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