California Nurses Oppose Prop. 71 Embryonic Stem Cell Research Measure

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 8, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

California Nurses Oppose Prop. 71 Embryonic Stem Cell Research Measure Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 8, 2004

Sacramento, CA ( — Despite supporting destructive embryonic stem cell research, California’s largest nurses association this week announced it opposes Proposition 71, the ballot measure that would spend billions of taxpayer dollars to fund the unproven research.

The 58,000-member California Nurses Association says it will oppose the measure because of substantial concerns about adequate safeguards and the likely use of public funds it says will enrich pharmaceutical and biotech corporations.

Deborah Burger, RN, the group’s president, says Prop. 71 "is fraught with substantial loopholes that could aggravate those disparities, fails to guarantee protections for women who participate in the research, and could permit wealthy corporate giants to hijack the benefits of the publicly-funded research."

Burger said her organization that the unelected committee formed to oversee allocation of the $6 billion in state money used for the research would have too much power.

Burger also said too much funding would go towards the research, which has yet to provide cures for any diseases, "with no assurances that all Californians would benefit."

The nurses group believes new treatments, if they result from the embryonic stem cells, would be very costly for patients.

The California Nurses Association also disagrees with the use of cloning to create human embryos for research that is authorized under Proposition 71. CNA believes that human embryos should only be used when they’re from fertility clinics that plan to discard them.

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.

A September 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.

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