Fiscal impact reports (FIRs) are prepared by the Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) for standing finance
committees of the NM Legislature. The LFC does not assume responsibility for the accuracy of these reports
if they are used for other purposes.
Current FIRs (in HTML & Adobe PDF formats) are a vailable on the NM Legislative Website (
Adobe PDF versions include all attachments, whereas HTML versions may not. Previously issued FIRs and
attachments may be obtained from the LFC in Suite 101 of the State Capitol Building North.
01-30-08 HB
SHORT TITLE Biomedical Research Act
SB 23/aSPAC/aSFl#1
ANALYST Hanika-Ortiz
APPROPRIATION (dollars in thousands)
or Non-Rec
$0.1 (see narrative)
General Fund
(Parenthesis ( ) Indicate Expenditure Decreases)
LFC Files
Responses Received From
Department of Health (DOH)
Synopsis of SF#1 Amendment
The Senate Floor Amendment # 1 will allow research on embryos provided by consented donors
in vitro fertilization.
For further clarity, the word “original" could be inserted before the word “owner" within the
Synopsis of SPAC Amendment
The Senate Public Affairs Committee Amendment more accurately defines the term “embryo" to
avoid confusion with the term “fetus"; clarifies and emphasizes the intent of the bill to limit stem
cell research solely to embryos that are left over from in vitro fertilization clinics; and,
emphasizes the intent of the bill that the creation of embryos by any means for the sole purpose
of stem cell production is prohibited.
DOH notes that SB23a does not change the intent or purpose of the original bill. SB 23a serves
to clarify and emphasize key components in order to avoid any confusion in interpretation.
Senate Bill 23/aSPAC/aSFl#1 – Page
Synopsis of Original Bill
Senate Bill 23 expands the scope of prohibited activities addressed in the current Maternal,
Fetal and Infant Experimentation Act; and, enacts the “Biomedical Research Act" permitting
biomedical research on certain embryonic stem cells while at the same time attempting to
prohibit human reproductive cloning. Punishment for violation of the new covered activities is a
Sections 1 and 2: cites the title of the Act as the “Biomedical Research Act", and purpose of the
Act which states the benefits of human embryonic stem cell and other biomedical research.
Section 3: Defines terms used in the Biomedical Research Act, including:
cell lines
mean “a permanently established cell culture that will proliferate
human adult stem cell
is “an undifferentiated cell…that can renew itself and differentiate
to yield specialized cell types";
human reproductive cloning
means “the asexual genetic replication of a human being by
transferring a pre-implementation embryo…with the purpose of creating a human
pre-implementation embryo
is “an embryo…that has not experienced more than fourteen
days of development…";
primitive streak
means “the structure that forms during the early stages of embryonic
development…and generally develops around the fourteenth day of existence".
Section 4: Permits certain research and clinical applications involving the use of pre-implantation
human embryonic stem cells. The research shall only be conducted in accordance with guidelines
and policies promulgated by the United States Health and Human Services Office for Human
Research Protection, the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine at the National
Academies. The Act prohibits research involving in vitro culture of an intact human embryo for
longer than 14 days or until formation of the primitive streak begins, whichever occurs first.
Section 5: Prohibits human reproductive cloning; includes
purchasing, selling, transferring or
obtaining human embryonic, gametic or cadaveric tissue for the purpose of reproductive cloning,
and prohibits creating an embryo with the singular intent for research.
Section 6: Exempts an employee from the conduct of research, experimentation or study if it
conflicts with their sincerely held religious practices or beliefs.
Section 7: Provides that violation of the Act is a misdemeanor and shall be punishable by a fine
of up to $25,000 or imprisonment for not more than 1 year or by both.
Section 8: Amends Section 24-9A-1 NMSA 1978, the Maternal, Fetal and Infant
Experimentation Act; within definitions, and excludes from the definition of fetus
“products of
conception produced by in vitro fertilization clinics and targeted for disposal or deemed excess
Senate Bill 23/aSPAC/aSFl#1 – Page
The bill creates guidelines for researchers studying human stem cells in New Mexico toward the
goal of fostering such biomedical research within the state. These activities have the potential to
require a future General Fund appropriation.
However, there is no appropriation added to the bill or state agency identified to provide
oversight and regulatory authority for the activities this bill will generate.
Proponents of the bill believe stem cell research over time has the potential to increase jobs,
stimulate economic activity and improve health outcomes within the State.
The primitive streak (as defined above) is an important concept in bioethics, where some experts
have argued that experimentation with human embryos is permissible only until the primitive
streak develops, generally around the fourteenth day of existence. The development of the
primitive streak is taken, by such bioethicists, to signify the creation of a unique, potential human
DOH comments that human stem cells are believed to hold promise for the understanding and
treatment of many major acute and chronic developmental and degenerative diseases. Because of
their potential to divide and specialize into many different cells types, stem cells have great
potential for use in repairing damaged tissues to recover lost function. The ability of stem cells to
be re-directed toward the development of different cells varies depending upon the source of the
stem cell, with adult cells appearing to have more limited potential than embryonic, placental and
amniotic stem cells.
The use of human embryonic stem cells, which can be made either from embryos left over from
fertility clinics or by using cloning technology is controversial because of concerns about the
sanctity of human life.
The National Conference of State Legislatures website, in discussing state embryonic and fetal
research laws posted the following:
“State laws may restrict the use of embryonic stem cells from some or all sources or specifically
permit certain activities. State laws on the issue vary widely. Approaches to stem cell research
policy range from statutes in California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey
and an Executive Order in Illinois which encourage embryonic stem cell research; to South
Dakota's law, which strictly forbids research on embryos regardless of the source. States that
specifically permit embryonic stem cell research have established guidelines for scientists such
as consent requirements and approval and review processes for projects."
DOH has some concerns over the definitions provided for “embryo" and “fetus" as used in the
Act. The Department insists that an “embryo" means the product of conception up to 8 weeks,
while “fetus" means the product of conception from 8 weeks until expulsion.
Senate Bill 23/aSPAC/aSFl#1 – Page
DOH raises additional concerns that the bill may allow (by omission) the use of certain asexual
as well as sexual techniques to produce embryos for stem cell production. Concerns surround
somatic cell nuclear transplantation (SCNT) as embryos created by this technique have the same
potential for development as do embryos created by fertilization.
Nearly a decade after the discovery of embryonic stem cells in humans, scientists still don’t
know exactly how they work, how to assure their purity, or what expected side effects they might
have when transplanted into the human body.
However, scientists for the first time have made human embryonic stem cells without destroying
embryos (a key issue), a development that the government's top stem cell official said may make
the controversial research eligible for federal funding.
However, there is a potential flaw with the
technique as even the delicate removal of one cell could place an embryo's health at risk.
Researchers at Advanced Cell Technology in Worcester, Mass., created four stem cell lines out
of individual cells plucked from 3-day-old embryos, which continued to appear to develop
normally after the procedure.
The National Institute of Health's stem cell task force, said that with certain safeguards, the new
method appeared to comply with federal restrictions that have largely cut scientists off from the
$28 billion the government spends on medical research each year. Federal law prohibits the
National Institutes of Health from paying for experiments that place human embryos at risk of
injury or death, and spending on human embryonic stem cell research is restricted to projects
involving a handful of cell lines that were created before August 2001.
The removal of a single cell from a young embryo is done thousands of times a year in the U.S.
by fertility laboratories to screen embryos for genetic diseases. (January 11, 2008)
Initiate an advisory committee in an effort to provide useful advice to lawmakers by laying out
the background on bio-ethical issues, analyzing the arguments, and presenting recommendations.
In addition, the State should create a more permanent avenue to provide advice and expertise to
lawmakers on other important ethical, legal, and policy issues that will arise from our increased
understanding of human biology.