HB 543 — “Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund” Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO)

Committee: House Ways and Means

The Maryland Catholic Conference represents the public policy interests of the three Roman Catholic (arch)dioceses serving Maryland: the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington, , which together encompass over one million Marylanders.

The Maryland Catholic Conference respectfully urges the General Assembly to clarify the language contained in the Maryland Technology Development Corporation budget pertaining to the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund (MSCRF) to specify that all of the $8.2 million allocated for FY2020 be used for adult stem cell research. We urge the subcommittee to insert budget language that ensures that no General Fund appropriations involve the use of embryonic stem cells for research, which the Church believes is morally objectionable because it destroys nascent life. Adult stem cell research, on the other hand, uses stem cells from a variety of existing human cells without harming another life.

As stem cell research continues to progress and advance, many leading research institutions and medical centers of excellence have repeatedly reported the equal efficacy of using adult stem cells in their research. As Maryland continues to strive for ethical and responsible use of taxpayer dollars, amending the budget to include this language would be a tremendous step in achieving that goal.

As the U.S. bishops have stated, the Church "opposes destroying some human lives now, on the pretext that this may possibly help other lives in the future. We must respect life at all times, especially when our goal is to save lives."

We respectfully urge the subcommittee to insert clarifying budget language that ensures use of any MSCRF money from the General Fund is used only for adult stem cell research.