It is with great joy that I announce that the state of Delaware has dodged
a bullet and will not be conducting destructive embryonic stem cell
research any time in the near future.
Senate Bill 80, for the defeat of which many of you joined in intercessory
prayer, was passed yesterday by the Delaware legislature. However, the
bill that finally passed was amended in the last 48 hours by its sponsors
to the point that it was essentially gutted. The bill's sponsors were able
to save face and claim a hollow victory.
"We were ambushed," said one of SB80's supporters.
Here is how one of the bill's staunchest opponents, Mary McCrossan,
summarized what happened:
"I want to make sure I have this all straight. It's been changing at a
dizzying pace and I feel a little dizzy.
The other side wanted a bill authorizing embryonic stem cell and human
cloning research to replace our current situation of no legal status one
way or another.[They wanted] a governor-appointed committee without
accountability [that] would have kept us from having a hope of real
regulation and would have given an endorsement and a victory to the other
But we stopped all that with lobbying and prayer. And we almost got
a real cloning ban. So, now we work on getting protective laws by
educating our fellow citizens, and continuing to pray. This will probably
take a while but we bought a lot of time today."
The "real cloning ban" she writes of refers to a negotiation that took
place between the bill's sponsors and the Diocese of Wilmington's
lobbyist late in the game:
"Last night, Chris DiPietro, diocesan lobbyist, was pulled in to the
Republican caucus meeting and made an offer. In exchange for dropping all
references to stem cell research and strengthening the anti-cloning
provisions in SB 80, would the Diocese support SB 80?
I've attached their proposed amendment. It guts the bill. However, it
still does not ban research cloning. It does ban fetal farming, because a
cloned embryo may not be developed to the fetal stage, but it is still not
a bill we can endorse.
The Diocese will not support the new amendment in its current form. Chris
will counter-propose an amendment by Steve Jenkins that is a true cloning
ban--banning all asexual reproduction of humans for any reason. By
changing only a few words in their amendment, Steve has crafted a bill
that will truly make a difference. Fr. John Grimm consulted with national
legal and bioethics experts on the amendment, as well.
Apparently, the Senate has agreed to pass the gutted bill--they don't want to go down in
voters' memories as having supported the original SB 80.
The sponsors will continue to try to build support for a new ESC bill. We
can fight them as we go on. I'm pretty sure that they'll have to
demonstrate extremely strong support before their caucus will let them run
the bill again--the whole topic is radioactive now. It's hard to describe
just how much they all want this to go away."
As Mary McCrossan went on to observe this morning:
"It's still sinking in that I think we really accomplished something here.
The other side isn't quitting. But they are some pretty heavy hitters and
we kept them from getting what they wanted. Lots of talented folks worked
to stop the passage of the original SB 80. But we are pretty much
amateurs and volunteers.
It had to be the prayers."
I thank the good Lord, and I thank you who prayed.
Let us not be like the ten lepers who, once cured, neglected
to return to Christ with their thanks.
Deo gratias! The Lord is powerful and comes to the aid of His people.
May He receive glory, and honor, and praise, now and forever!