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Oklahoma House passes embryo protection bill

A bill that would make it a felony to knowingly destroy a human embryo for stem cell research or any other purpose cruised through the state House of Representatives on Tuesday by a vote of 73-14.
by Randy Ellis Published: February 26, 2014
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A bill that would make it a felony to knowingly destroy a human embryo for stem cell research or any other purpose cruised through the state House of Representatives on Tuesday by a vote of 73-14.

It now goes to the state Senate.

“For me, and I believe a majority of Oklahomans, the real question is about life. When does life begin? I believe it begins at conception,” said state Rep. Dan Fisher, one of the authors of House Bill 2070. “I believe that Oklahoma needs to go down in history and on the record books as saying we are adamantly opposed to the intentional destruction of embryos.”

State Rep. Doug Cox, a Grove medical doctor, argued against the bill, saying that while he respects the intentions of the bill’s authors, “it goes a little overboard and sends a message to the rest of the world that Oklahoma is closing the door on stem cell research.”

Cox said it’s too early to say where stem cell research will lead, but stem cells are being used in research into heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, muscular dystrophy and autism.

Fisher said his bill would ban couples from destroying frozen embryos that are left over following in vitro fertilization as well as embryonic stem cell research that results in their destruction.

Excess embryos left over from in vitro fertilization would either need to be kept frozen forever or provided to others who want to adopt the embryos and grow them into babies, he said.

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by Randy Ellis
Investigative Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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