March 18, 2011
The Oklahoma House has passed a bill that would prohibit human embryo destruction for experiments, by a vote of 86 votes in favor and 8 votes opposed. Contrary to what some news reports claim, the bill (HB 1442) sponsored by Rep. George Faught does not directly address embryonic stem cell research. Rather, the bill prohibits conducting "destructive research on a human embryo". According to the bill:
Destructive research means medical procedures, scientific or laboratory research, or other kinds of investigation that kill or injure the subject of such research. It does not include:
a. in vitro fertilization and accompanying embryo transfer to a womans body, or
b. any diagnostic procedure that may benefit the human embryo subject to such tests.
The legislation would also prohibit trafficking in human embryos, or gametes that would be used to create human embryos, if the embryos would be used for destructive research.
The focus of the proposed legislation is on embryonic humans. In short, the legislation would prohibit destroying human embryos for experiments in Oklahoma, but not embryonic stem cell research, or any stem cell research for that matter.