Christopher Reeve Used in California Embryonic Stem Cell Research Ad

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 22, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Christopher Reeve Used in California Embryonic Stem Cell Research Ad Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 22, 2004

Sacramento, CA ( — In a move opponents say borders on exploitation, proponents of a California measure that would spend $6 billion in taxpayer funds for embryonic stem cell research have used a previous statement made by "Superman" actor Christopher Reeve touting the controversial ballot issue. Reeve passed away earlier this month.

In the ad, Reeve states, "My foundation supports cutting edge research. And we are proud … proud supporters of Proposition 71."

"Stem cells have already cured paralysis in animals. Stem cells are the future of medicine," Reeve claims. "Please support Prop 71. And, stand up for those that can’t."

Though Reeve supported embryonic stem cell research, he told Reader’s Digest earlier this year that embryonic stem cells "are not able to do much about chronic injuries."

Opponents of the measure condemned using the Reeve footage so soon after the death of the former actor.

Jennifer Lahl, executive director of the Bay Area Center for Bioethics and Culture, told the Associated Press she thought the ad, which touts cures for patients from embryonic stem cells, deceives patients.

"I think it’s pretty pathetic that we are playing on the fears of those who are sick,” Lahl said. "This is playing on fears that help is on the way, that cures are around the corner.”

Kathy Lewis, president and CEO for the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, said Reeve "strongly supported Proposition 71.

"His family and his foundation wanted the people of California to see this recently recorded message," Lewis said.

Backers of the proposition have put together a multimillion dollar campaign to urge California residents to support it next month. The Reeve ad will air statewide beginning today.

Yesterday, Reeve’s wife Dana endorsed John Kerry for president and attacked President Bush’s policy prohibiting federal funding of new research that involves the destruction of human life.

Instead, Bush has spent more than $190 million on research involving adult stem cells, which has already produced 140 treatments for diseases and ailments.

The 30 second advertising spot was filmed two weeks before Reeve passed away on October 10.