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Catholic Group Launches ad Campaign to Stop Funding for Research on Human Embryos

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The national Catholic based advocacy group Fidelis has announced the launch of a radio campaign aimed at stopping a state proposal to spend $25 million on embryonic stem cell research.

The proposal, HB 139, is expected to be debated in the coming weeks, and would authorize the use of state funds to make grants for research that involves risky human cloning, and the destruction of human embryos. The radio ads will run five times a day over the next several days in targeted markets across the state.

Fidelis President Joseph Cella commented, "The Illinois state legislature has already approved legislation legalizing human cloning of embryos for research, and now they want taxpayers to fund it. We believe this research destroys human life, takes advantage of women by encouraging risky egg donation, and is a waste of taxpayer dollars."

The ad campaign was timed to coincide with the return of legislators from the Easter recess. Legislators return to Springfield Monday where they will face hard decisions on a number of funding issues, including Governor Blagoevich's plan to tax the gross receipt of businesses to provide universal health insurance.

"Given the funding push on so many other issues, including the decision not to provide any relief on skyrocketing utility rates, this is not the right time to be investing millions of dollars into unethical research which many Illinois citizens oppose," continued Cella.

Yesterday in Washington D.C., the United States Senate passed a bill that would allow federal funds to be used for similar research. President Bush has vowed to veto the legislation, supporting instead an alternative proposal that promotes stem cell research that does not involve the destruction of human life.

"Just this week we saw more evidence that alternative stem cell research, specifically stem cells derived from a patient's blood, continues to show enormous promise. If the Illinois legislature wants to fund research that is helping real people, they should invest taxpayer dollars in stem cell research that is both ethical and effective - and keep the people's money out of the embryo killing business," said Cella.