Austin, Texas- February 18, 2016: Texas Right to Life confirmed that Texas taxpayers are footing part of the bill for embryo-destroying research in state-funded facilities. This information comes directly from the National Institutes of Health, an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The facilities implicated include Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. These two educational institutions receive hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars from the state of Texas every year.
Texas Right to Life found that in fiscal year 2014 $1,162,764.00 of federal funds were spent on human embryonic stem cell research in these two institutions funded by Texas tax dollars. In 2015, the federal funds spent on human embryonic stem cell research increased to $2,228,613.00.
Texas Right to Life has long known that embryo-destroying research takes place in our state. In the 84th Session of the Texas Legislature, Pro-Life legislators again tried to address the shockingly unregulated issue of research on human embryos. Texas Right to Life has worked to introduce regulations on embryonic stem cell research with the aim of protecting nascent human Life. Texas has no such protections, and furthermore has no regulations on taxpayer dollars being used to fund research that destroys human embryos.
In the most recent attempt to correct this grave deficit, Pro-Life Representative Scott Turner introduced an amendment to House Bill 1, the House budget for 2016 and 2017. The legislation would have stopped all funding of embryo-destroying research in Texas universities. Representative Turner’s Amendment 267 reads, “No funds appropriated under this Act shall be used in conjunction with or to support research which involves the destruction of a human embryo.” Inexcusably, anti-Life Republicans lined up at the back mic on the House floor to protest Representative Turner’s commonsense Pro-Life protection. Representatives John Zerwas and John Raney openly opposed the amendment and joined their RINO colleagues JD Sheffield and Sarah Davis in voting against the amendment.
Although the House Republican majority succeeded in passing Amendment 267 on a 90-51 vote, the Pro-Life protections were removed from the budget in later negotiations behind closed doors. As we prepare to work toward Pro-Life protections in research and taxpayer funding in the next legislative session, we expect to hear the same arguments made by John Zerwas, John Raney, and other anti-Life Republicans. They have repeatedly claimed such research is not happening in Texas universities and that any attempt to ensure Pro-Life Texans are not paying for such research with their tax dollars threatens the reputation and success of Texas’s university research programs. Contrary to these claims, the most recent findings indicate the real need for Pro-Life action in the Texas Legislature to protect human embryos from exploitation and destruction.
Texas Right to Life also found that a third facility in Texas, Methodist Hospital Research Institution, receives federal funding for embryo-destroying stem cell research. What is disturbing in this instance is that Methodist, a private facility in the Houston Medical Center, is academically affiliated with Texas A&M Health Science Center. While Representative Turner’s amendment would have stopped taxpayer dollars from supporting the anti-Life research at Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, Texas also needs to adopt a ban on embryonic stem cell research to stop the destruction of innocent human lives in private facilities as well.
Texas Right to Life now has hard evidence that not only is this research occurring throughout Texas, but indeed taxpayers are blindly supporting the inhumane destruction of human embryos in the name of scientific progress.
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