by Steven Ertelt
September 18, 2006
Lansing, MI (LifeNews.com) — A new organization has been formed in Michigan to lobby in favor of embryonic stem cell research and spending taxpayer funds on it. The group is the results of collaborative efforts between two state lawmakers and researchers at the University of Michigan and Michigan State.
Sen. Carl Levin, a pro-abortion Democrat, and Rep. Joe Schwarz, a Republican with a mixed voting record, worked with scientists at both colleges to start the organization.
They plan to fight against state laws that ban embryonic stem cell research there and announced the new group, Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures, at a press conference in Lansing on Monday.
"If we don’t use embryos that are going to be discarded anyway … it pushes the cures farther and farther away," Levin said, according to the Detroit News.
Schwarz added, "A state like Michigan ought to be right out there among the leaders in embryonic stem cell research and not have laws that create barriers."
He called destroying human embryos for research pro-life, but Right to Life of Michigan and the Michigan Catholic Conference oppose overturning the state ban because human lives are destroyed. Embryonic stem cell research has also not yielded any cures for patients while research on adult stem cells has produced dozens of treatments.
"The benefits of adult stem cell research are making headlines across the globe as thousands of people are walking, seeing and moving again after undergoing adult stem cell therapy," Michigan Catholic Conference representative Paul Long said earlier.
"The facts are that nearly 30 years of public and private financing for embryonic stem cell research have failed to produce any positive gains, while advancements with adult stem cells are occurring on a daily basis," he explained.
"We want cures, too," Right to Life of Michigan legislative director Ed Rivet added. "But we have different means to achieving them."
The two groups worked to promote adult stem cell research and helped state lawmakers approve a $5 million measure to create a stem cell bank to store umbilical cord blood and adult stem cells.
Levin and Schwarz, however, complained that pro-life advocates and pro-life lawmakers bandied together to stall a measure that would have overturned the state’s embryonic stem cell research ban.
Rep. Andrew Meisner, a Democrat, sponsored the effort to remove the ban, but pro-life groups also opposed his bill because it would allow human cloning for research purposes.
Rep. David Law, a Republican who backed the adult stem cell research legislation, told the Lansing State Journal, "It makes sense to promote medical advances that are successful and have great potential, without the ethical concerns that are inherent with creating and destroying embryos."
Gov. Jennifer Granholm supports lifting the embryonic stem cell research ban and she is opposed by pro-life candidate Dick DeVos in this November’s gubernatorial election.
With the ban in place, the University of Michigan has become a leader in the field of adult stem cell research.