Ronald Reagan Daughter Sues Salvation Army Over Stem Cell Research Speech

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 19, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Ronald Reagan Daughter Sues Salvation Army Over Stem Cell Research Speech Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 19, 2004

New York, NY ( — Patti Davis, an author and a daughter of President Ronald Reagan, has sued the Salvation Army for canceling a planned speech because of her position in favor of embryonic stem cell research.

Davis said the religious charity wrongfully went back on an agreement for her to give a speech at a California event next month, for which she would have been paid $15,000.

According to a Reuters report, the group scrapped the event after Davis appeared on ABC’s "Prime Time Live" in August and advocated the use of the unproven research.

"They told the talent agency they were not going to proceed with the contract because of her support of stem cell research, which they said was against their policy and position," Davis’s lawyer Lawrence Fabian told Reuters.

The Salvation Army refused to pay both the speaking fee and a $7,500 cancellation fee, which prompted Davis to file a complaint last week in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Michael Watters, a Salvation Army attorney, told Reuters that the lawsuit was without merit because "there was no binding contract and in fact (the booking agent) had never signed the agreement and sent it back."

Watters also said stem cell research had nothing to do with the cancellation. He told Reuters that he the charity has no position on stem cell research, to his knowledge.

But, papers filed by Davis’ attorney suggest otherwise.

”The reason specified by defendant for refusing to proceed with the contract and refusing to make payment as agreed was that the plaintiff Davis supported stem cell research and that stem cell research was against the policy and position of the defendant,” the lawsuit said.

Greater Talent Network, Inc., handles events and speeches for Davis.

The Reagan family has been the subject of controversy and debate after the death of the former president.

Reagan son Ron Reagan and his wife Nancy have vocally advocated embryonic stem cell research and federal funding of it. Meanwhile, Michael Reagan says he opposes the research and has advocated the use of adult stem cells as a more ethical and effective alternative.

Pro-life groups oppose the controversial research because it destroys the lives of days-old unborn children.

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