Rhode Island

There is no Rhode Island law that specifically restricts the use of human adult or embryonic stem cells for research purposes. The Rhode Island law that does restrict some uses of human cells explicitly permits research as long as the research is not for the purposes of cloning an entire human being—which is not part of stem cell research.

Starting in 2003 and continuing every year thereafter, bills were introduced that would have explicitly allowed all forms of stem cell research and created a procedure for unused embryos as a result of in vitro fertilization treatments to be donated for the purpose of stem cell research. These bills were sponsored in the House by Representative Edith Ajello, and in the Senate by Senator Rhoda Perry. A 2007 version of the bill, 2007 H-6082, was introduced again but failed to pass.

In 2006, a resolution sponsored by Representative Eileen Naughton was passed, creating a special House commission to promote and develop a nationally recognized cord blood program for the future of disease management in Rhode Island. That commission began meeting in February of 2007. In 2007, a resolution sponsored by Representative Naughton was passed creating the Rhode Island House of Representatives Regenerative Medicine and Research Advisory Study Commission.

In 2007, Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts released a report entitled Discovering Rhode Island’s Stem Cell Future: Charting the Course Toward Health and Prosperity, outlining the potential that stem cell research holds for reducing human suffering and supporting economic growth in Rhode Island.

Contacts for IASCR: Adriana Thomas, Policy Analyst, Rhode Island House of Representatives, and Eli Zupnick, Policy Analyst, Office of the Lt. Governor