California Voters Approve Taxpayer Funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 3, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

California Voters Approve Taxpayer Funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 3, 2004

Sacramento, CA ( — California voters Tuesday approved a measure that would require taxpayers to spend $6 billion to fund research involving human cloning and the destruction of human life. With little oversight or monitoring, the funds will specifically be used to clone and kill human embryos — days old unborn children — for scientific research.

Voters approved Proposition 71 by a 5,616,268 (59.1%) to 3,894,561 (40.9%) margin after proponents spent millions touting the controversial measure.

"California has voted to support embryonic stem cell research jeopardizing both their moral and financial standing," stated Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council, in reaction to the vote.

"Californians have voted to use their money to finance highly controversial science that intentionally destroys nascent human life and will likely create cloned embryo farms," Perkins added.

The result is a concern for those who oppose the grisly practice because it could lead to similar votes in other states.

The California Nurses Association joined pro-life groups, Catholic and other Christian leaders and even some abortion advocates and environmentalists in opposing the measure.

Some opponents of the measure are talking about the possibility of setting up a new watchdog group to keep the agency that will disseminate the embryonic stem cell research funds accountable.

"We are talking about some kind of biotech accountability project," Marcy Darnovsky, associate executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society, an Oakland group that opposed the initiative, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "There will be this vast amount of money sloshing around."

Pro-life groups say adult stem cell research, which has already produced 140 treatments for diseases and ailments, has been proven far superior to the use of embryonic stem cells, which has yet to treat a single human patient.

Backers of the California measure 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 are considered more ethical and more effective.

"As a country we cannot afford to let this type of egregious disregard for human life to become common and accepted practice," Perkins concluded. "There is absolutely no ethical or scientific reason for public funding of embryonic stem cell research."