Time magazine last month touted recent advances in stem cell research as one of the world’s “10 best shots for tackling our worst problems.”

But Minnesota and Oklahoma are hellbent on blocking progress. A bill to criminalize embryonic stem cell research in Minnesota passed committees in the House and Senate last week, and the Oklahoma House slammed through a bill on March 18 enacting a total ban on the research. Considering the human misery this work has the potential to alleviate, the wave of unenlightened legislation is as frightening as it is appalling.

California should be proud that it is widely considered the global leader in stem cell research. People everywhere who have relatives, friends or acquaintances living with or dying from diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s should be grateful for the work done here.

The support for the bills in Minnesota and Oklahoma was based on ignorance or ideology, certainly not science. It’s especially galling to scientists that Minnesota Republican Sen. Michelle Fischbach’s bill is titled “The Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2011.” No reputable scientist would even consider engaging in human cloning.

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