Pro-Life Democrat Criticizes California Governor for Backing Stem Cell Measure

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 21, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Democrat Criticizes California Governor for Backing Stem Cell Measure Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 21, 2004

Sacramento, CA ( — A leading pro-life Democrat is criticizing California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for endorsing a measure that would take $6 billion in taxpayer funds to promote stem cell research, including embryonic stem cell research that involves the destruction of human life.

Schwarzenegger endorsed Proposition 71 this week, despite complaints from various groups that the measure will put tremendous pressure on an already unstable California economy.

However, Raymond Flynn, the former Vatican ambassador and Boston mayor is taking Schwarzenegger to task because of moral objections to the unproven research.

Flynn, who now heads up a lay Catholic group, Liberty, Family & Life Center, says Schwarzenegger violated his Catholic beliefs by backing the destruction of human embryos that accompanies embryonic stem cell research.

"After reading your stance on stem cell research, I seriously question whether you understand the teachings of our Catholic faith on the importance of promoting a culture of life in our country,” Flynn wrote in a letter to the former actor.

"I implore that you reconsider why you are a Catholic and consider correcting your stance on authorizing tax-exempt, general obligation bonds to fund embryonic stem cell research," Flynn added.

Flynn told the Boston Herald that he didn’t doubt Schwarzenegger’s Catholic faith but said the California governor is operating outside the views of the church on the controversial issue.

Schwarzenegger’s office told the Herald that he had not yet received Flynn’s letter and wouldn’t comment.

"We daringly led the way for the high-tech industry and now voters can help ensure we lead the way for the biotech industry," Schwarzenegger said in a statement touting his endorsement of Proposition 71.

Opponents of the proposal cite the state’s fiscal crisis as one reason for the opposition to the measure, which has a $6 billion dollar price tag. They say Schwarzenegger is contradicting himself by advocating fiscally responsible policies and backing Proposition 71.

One pro-life state lawmaker mentioned those concerns in reacting to the endorsement.

"The state’s borrowing is already completely out of control," state Sen. Tom McClintock (R) told the Los Angeles Times. "This measure makes our future problems substantially worse. It might be highly commendable, but it is wildly irresponsible."

Catholics in California also oppose the measure.

Tod Tamberg, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, said the governor was too quick to back the research and should have given more though to the ethical concerns.

Tamberg said the billions could be better spent on helping to provide health care for California residents.

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