California Stem Cell Research Measure Gains in Poll, Newspapers Oppose It

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 31, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

California Stem Cell Research Measure Gains in Poll, Newspapers Oppose It Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 31, 2004

Sacramento, CA ( — A poll released on Sunday shows California residents appear to be headed toward approving a measure that would require taxpayers to foot a $6 billion bill for unproven embryonic stem cell research that relies on human cloning.

Proposition 71 has the support of 54 percent of California voters while just 37 percent oppose the measure, according to a new Field Poll

Groups backing the ballot issue have pumped millions of special interest money into advertising campaigns to support it while opponents, including Catholic and pro-life groups, some abortion and environmental groups and the state nurses association, have had little to promote their view.

Some taxpayers groups oppose the measure as well saying that it will cause further problems for an already struggling California economy and state budget.

The Field Poll showed 72 percent of Democrats backed the proposal while 61 percent of Republicans oppose it.

Meanwhile, several California newspapers have issued editorials opposing Proposition 71.

The Modesto Bee urges a no vote saying such research "should be financed by the private companies that stand to benefit hugely from advancements and licensing arrangements."

The Alemeda Times-Star says "the $6 billion in long-term debt that it adds to the state’s burdens is hardly the best way to help manage California."

"[T]here’s no assurance that the lion’s share of the profits won’t go to the venture capitalists and biotech firms whose leaders are among the initiative’s funders," the newspaper added.

The Visalia Times-Delta also noted its opposition to the measure.

"Stem cell research is important, but it should be financed by the private sector. With its shaky finances, California has no business investing in medical research," the newspaper explained.