California Groups Opposing Embryonic Stem Cell Research Measure Get $

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 6, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

California Groups Opposing Embryonic Stem Cell Research Measure Get $ Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 6, 2004

Sacramento, CA ( — Opponents of a measure that would spend billions of taxpayer dollars on destructive embryonic stem cell research are finally obtaining funds to fight against the proposal. But, the money may be too little too late to battle the proposal’s backers, whose campaign coffers are overflowing with millions of dollars.

Last week, the Catholic Church and a California businessman each contributed $50,000 to groups that are fighting Proposition 71. The measure would have the state borrow $3 billion to pay for the contrversial research and eventually cost taxpayers $6 billion once interest in included.

To stop the measure, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Christian businessman Howard Ahmanson Jr. provided two anti-Prop 71 groups with their only signifciant funding.

Together, they have raised only $115,000 to combat the $12 million from the measure’s proponents.

"We believe life begins at the moment of conception," Sister Mary Ann Walash, a USCCB spokeswoman, told the Associated Press. "Stem cell research involves the taking of a human life."

The USCCB donation went to a new committee organized by the California Catholic Conference. Carol Hogan told AP that the statewide Catholic group is also expected to put some money into the committee, called Californians Against Loan and Clone.

Ahmanson, an banking heir, sent a $50,000 contribution to Doctors, Patients & Taxpayers for Fiscal Responsibility, the official group opposing Proposition 71.

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 the ballot measure have accumulated a vast war chest to promote their effort.

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 wealthyNew 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 the 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.

Related web sites:
Proposition 71 Voters’ Guide –
California Catholic Conference –