How the U.S. stem cell debate is like Minnesota's

Considering the debate over the anti-cloning amendment in Minnesota’s higher education bill — which was eventually dropped — I found this Boston Globe article enlightening (though not surprising.)

It’s about how most Republican presidential candidates would scale back current efforts to extend federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

This tidbit caught my eye:

Now most of the Republican candidates have refused to be pinned down as to just how far they will go in their opposition.

Sound familiar?

Earlier this year, a University of Minnesota scientist and some DFL committee members complained that the expression “human cloning” used in the amendment was too vague and could be interpreted in the most restrictive manner. GOP backers, however, repeatedly dodged the issue and never said just what they were against — therapeutic cloning, reproductive cloning or both.

(Reproductive cloning is the cloning of full human beings, something scientists here said they were against. Therapeutic cloning clones tissue for the treatment of various diseases, and is something they back.)

The Globe article continues:

The (Susan B. Anthony List, which endorses and raises money for antiabortion candidates) recently asked the presidential candidates to sign a pledge promising to end taxpayer-funded abortions and appoint only antiabortion judges, Cabinet members, and executive branch managers, including the head of the NIH.

Embryonic stem cell research was not explicitly part of the pledge, but (organization President Marjorie) Dannenfelser said it is implied that candidates who signed – Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, former governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, former senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Representative Ron Paul of Texas, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, and Representative Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan – would not support the expansion of federal funding for such research.

Get the full details in the article here.