by Steven Ertelt
September 26, 2006
Lansing, MI (LifeNews.com) — A new Michigan group formed to lobby in favor of embryonic stem cell research and spending taxpayer funds on it is coming under fire for allegedly plagiarizing information from the web sites of similar groups in other states. A leading pro-life organization said the information in also inaccurate.
Two lawmakers, Sen. Carl Levin, a pro-abortion Democrat, and Rep. Joe Schwarz, a Republican with a mixed voting record, announced the creation of Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures last week.
But Right to Life of Michigan said it has thoroughly examined the group’s new web site and found that "large portions" had been "plagiarized word for word from a variety of other web sites without citing these web sites as sources."
If true, the actions of the group are surprising since it includes a number of prominent figures. Apart from Levin and Schwarz, the group is led by researchers from a number of universities in Michigan, members of a variety of research advocacy groups and Grand Rapids’ Mayor George Heartwell, among others.
Governor Jennifer Granholm, who is facing a tough re-election campaign, is also part of the organization.
In a statement given to LifeNews.com, Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said, "As a former teacher, I’m deeply disappointed that an organization led by so many state leaders like Governor Granholm would create a web site which contains false information plagiarized from other web sites."
"The governor has made this a campaign issue and is advising an organization which is peddling empty promises and exploiting desperately ill people," Listing added.
RLM says the group’s web site contains a number of false claims which were lifted from the University of Kansas Medical Center’s web site.
Some of the claims include information about Hwang Woo-suk’s falsified efforts to clone a human embryo in 2004 and the claim that all 400,000 human embryos which are frozen at in-vitro fertilization clinics are “unwanted” and “no longer needed for fertility purposes.”
"The Michigan Citizen for Stem Cell Research and Cures’ web site exposes them as a misleading advocacy organization which is so uninformed of current events they weren’t aware the South Korean cloning experiments were fraudulent," Listing said.
The new group will push for a measure to overturn the state’s ban on embryonic stem cell research.
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.
Instead, RLM and the Michigan Catholic Conference 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.
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.