New Jersey has become the second state to allow embryonic stem cell research after its governor signed a law that has drawn criticism from religious and ethical groups that oppose abortion. “It is our obligation as a people and as a state to move the frontiers of science forward,” said Gov. James E. McGreevey when he signed the law January 4. Embryonic stem cell research has been strongly opposed by the Catholic Church and anti-abortion groups because it involves the use of fetal and embryonic tissue. It is permitted in California, and bills are pending regarding it in New York and Illinois.