California Embryonic Stem Cell Research Measure Backers Have Millions

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 24, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

California Embryonic Stem Cell Research Measure Backers Have Millions Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 24, 2004

Sacramento, CA ( — Despite a poll showing California voters evenly split over the issue of using billions of taxpayer funds to pay for unproven embryonic stem cell research, proponents of a ballot measure to do that have accumulated a vast war chest to promote their effort.

According to campaign finance documents analyzed by the Associated Press, backers of the controversial proposal have accumulated more than $12 million.

The amass of wealth got a boost from a $500,000 donation from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and a $100,000 contribution from Senator John Corzine, a New Jersey Democrat.

With the recent donation, JDRF has now spent $1 million on Proposition 71 — money that detractors say could have been used to provide grants to adult stem cell researchers.

Despite the inordinate amounts spent to promote the proposal, a poll earlier this month showed California voters aren’t enthusiastically embracing spending so much money on unproven research at a time when the state is still reeling from financial disarray.

The California Field Poll showed 45 percent of those 1,034 voters polled were planning to vote "yes" on the measure, while 42 percent were planning to vote "no." Thirteen percent of respondents were undecided.

But, that may change next month when backers of Prop 71 begin spending their millions on television commercials.

Opponents of the measure pale in comparison when it comes to raking in the dough.
The No on 71 campaign has only $15,000 in donations.

Pro-life organizations, fiscal conservatives, and the Catholic Church are among the opponents of the embryonic stem cell research funding measure.

They say that 50% of the costs for the initiative will go to pay interest on the bonds and that only 30% of the entire funding proposal will actually back the research.

In fact, California legislative analyst Elizabeth Hill said the bond measure will cost California $6 billion in principal and interest if paid off over 30 years, as is normal under such borrowing plans.

Related web sites:
Proposition 71 Voters’ Guide –