"SB 169 would recognize all human embryos as having the legal right to life and legal protection under the laws of the state of Georgia." - Georgia Right to Life
The State Senate of Georgia took a bill they had conceived to regulate in-vitro fertilization - in the wake of California's "octo-mom" controversy - and made it an anti-embryonic stem cell research bill.
The move goes farther than just negating President Obama's lifting of the Bush era federal funding ban. The bill, which moved out of the 13 member Senate Health and Human Services Committee with a 7 to 6 vote, decrees that a fertilized embryo is a person, and thus subject to the full protection of a person under the law.
"A living in vitro human embryo is a biological human being who is not the property of any person or entity," says the bill, SB169, entitled the Ethical Treatment of Human Embryos Act.
The bill goes on to say, "The in vitro human embryo shall not be intentionally destroyed for any purpose by any person or entity or through the actions of such person or entity."
To insure that the fertilized embryos are only used for reproductive applications, the bill includes language that would keep the embryos out of the hands of pure research scientists:
"A person who engages in the creation of in vitro human embryos shall be qualified as a medical doctor licensed to practice medicine in this state and shall possess specialized training and skill in artificial reproductive technology."
This is bad news for some of Georgia's colleges and universities, where researches were looking forward to the opportunity to “push their research toward the most promising technologies rather than the most politically expedient technologies,” Aaron Levine, a Georgia Tech public policy professor, said in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution prior to the Monday's news from Georgia's capitol.
Emory University, in Atlanta, also expressed some excitement about how Obama's move could impact cancer research.
SB 169 could come to the floor as soon as Thursday for a vote.