Lansing Update: March 24, 2006

In this issue of Lansing Update:

  1. Michigan Catholic Conference Urges Support for Adult Stem Cell Research
  2. Conscience Clause Bills Pass House Insurance Committee

Michigan Catholic Conference Urges Support for Adult Stem Cell Research

Research using adult stem cells is currently producing treatments for some 65 different medical conditions and deserves the recognition and support of the public to further assist those who are suffering, the Michigan Catholic Conference told the House Health Policy Committee this week in Lansing. The Conference offered its support of adult stem cell research while testifying against legislation that seeks to amend the state’s human cloning ban in order to clone then kill living human embryos for their stem cell lines.

“Public support for adult stem cell research is necessary to augment the increasing number of treatments that are today helping thousands of our friends and relatives who suffer from conditions such as muscular sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and brain cancer,” said Michigan Catholic Conference Vice President for Public Policy Paul A. Long. “Without the dedicated support of the public, including elected officials and the media, the ongoing successes of adult stem cell research will continue to be overshadowed by those who have failed to distinguish politics from science regarding stem cell research.”

Health Policy Committee chairman Representative Ed Gaffney (R-Grosse Point) allowed two hours of testimony for House Bills 4901 and 4902 but did not take a vote on the controversial bills.

Conscience Clause Bills Pass House Insurance Committee

Legislation that would protect faith-based health care providers and insurers from being forced to provide medical benefits that violate their mission moved to the full House of Representatives this week. Michigan Catholic Conference supports the concept of “conscience clause” legislation for religious freedom purposes, believing that the first amendment right is a cornerstone of our democracy and must be protected.

In April 2004 the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed House Bills 5006 and 5276-5278, legislation similar to that passing the House Insurance Committee this week. Those bills stalled in the state Senate after receiving a committee hearing in the Senate Health Policy Committee.

Michigan Catholic Conference believes that Catholic health care institutions and insurers should be allowed to provide health care services with an exemption from certain non-emergency benefits that are in direct violation of the Church’s teaching.

House Bills 4745 and 4746 now await consideration from the full House.