Valuing Families

Stem Cell Debate Focuses on States

Opponents of stem cell research are shifting their focus to state houses after President Obama lifted Bush administration restrictions on federal financing for human embryonic stem cell research. The Georgia Senate recently passed a ban on therapeutic cloning and the creation of embryos for any purpose other than procreation. The Mississippi House passed a bill to prohibit the University of Mississippi from using state funds "for research that kills or destroys an existing human embryo." And, as the New York Times reports, some states are considering bills that would define an embryo as a person.

Expanding Access to Dental Care

State Sen. Ray Cleary, a South Carolina Republican, has proposed S.286 to create a free dental screening program for schoolchildren in at least 3 of the state's poorest counties - where children are most likely to go without regular dental care. Sen. Cleary, a dentist himself, wants to combat the adverse effects that poor dental health has on a child's education, including the inability to focus while in school because of pain and missed school days. According to the Pew Center on the States, tooth decay is the most common childhood disease, affecting 60% of all children and causing kids across the country to miss 51 million hours of school time each year.