Doctors Group Opposes California Embryonic Stem Cell Research Measure

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 3, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Doctors Group Opposes California Embryonic Stem Cell Research Measure Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 3, 2004

Sacramento, CA ( — A national doctors group on Friday announced that it opposes the proposed California ballot measure that would have state residents spending billions of taxpayer dollars on unproven embryonic stem cell research.

The Christian Medical Association opposes the measure, in part, because it would allow the destruction of days-old human embryos — unique human beings.

"Sacrificing embryos for their stem cells crosses the moral and ethical line that has prohibited harmful research on humans," explains David Stevens, MD, CMA’s executive director.

"Once we succumb to the false principle that medical benefits justify exploitative research, there will be an ever-expanding group who will become targets of harmful research in the name of medical progress," Dr. Stevens added.

Despite a poll showing California voters evenly split over the issue, 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 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.

After years of embryonic stem cell research and millions of dollars spent on it, there has been little progress. No patients have yet been cured of their ailments and many of those who have had injections of embryonic stem cells have developed tumors or gone into convulsions as their bodies reject the foreign cells.

"Promising cures to desperate patients as if they are just around the corner is, to put it kindly, disingenuous," states Stevens.

Stevens said California lawmakers and scientists should focus more on the use of adult stem cells.

"We now know that adult stem cells are found in many other tissues than just bone marrow. They can transform from one type of tissue into another and cause healing or tissue regeneration," explains Stevens. "Patients are already receiving their own adult stem cells for heart disease, Parkinson’s and even to grow new bone."

Stevens, whose group has 900 members, said that the process of cloning for reproduction is the same the process for research-based cloning. "The only difference is what you do with the clone after it is produced," he explained.

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:
Christian Medical Association –
Proposition 71 Voters’ Guide –