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The Illinois Senate voted Friday to spend state tax dollars on embryonic stem cell research, despite objections from those who argue the research destroys human life.
The measure passed 35-23 and now goes to the Illinois House.
Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich has already used his executive powers to fund stem cell research.
He created the Illinois Regenerative Medicine Institute, which has awarded $15 million in grants.
The Senate legislation would make the institute and its grants a part of state law.
Supporters say embryonic stem cells could yield treatments for a wide variety of diseases, including diabetes and Alzheimer's.
They argue the cells are taken only from embryos created for in vitro fertilization that would otherwise be discarded.