New Jersey Sees Dueling Stem Cell Research Ads, Michael J. Fox Returns

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 5, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Jersey Sees Dueling Stem Cell Research Ads, Michael J. Fox Returns Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 5,

Trenton, NJ ( — Over the weekend, New Jersey voters heard two different radio ads on Tuesday’s ballot proposal to force taxpayers to spend $450 million on embryonic stem cell research and human cloning. One features the return of actor Michael J. Fox and the other has a paralyzed ex-cop who opposes the idea.

Fox upset pro-life advocates during the 2006 elections for his stem cell research ads in Missouri and other states that falsely accused pro-life lawmakers of opposing all stem cell research in general.

Instead, they only opposed the embryonic kind that requires the destruction of human life to move forward.

Fox is back and asking state voters to approve the ballot proposal. The ads by the political group New Jersey for Hope were made possible by a $150,000 donation from Gov. Jon Corzine, who signed the bill letting voters decide.

Two spots include Fox — one in which he blasts President Bush for not making taxpayers fund the unproven embryonic research and a second that talks more specifically about the proposal.

"New Jersey voters have a chance to do what our president won’t do, and fund stem cell research to give hope to millions of Americans,” Fox says in one ad that is displayed on the video site YouTube.

But New York City police officer Steve McDonald says in a competing ad that voters should reject the ballot proposal.

New Jersey Right to Life is paying for the ads that feature the paralyzed law enforcement official. McDonald was shot while on duty as a detective and has suffered from paralysis for 21 years.

"A lot of politicians, many of whom are Democrats like me, say that harvesting embryos will help me walk again, hold my son in my arms and hold my wife again,” he says in the radio spot. "So-called fetal tissue research has not produced one cure, not one.”

He says the question is "about taking your tax dollars for something that Wall Street and drug companies won’t invest in. Think about it.”

The latest poll of New Jersey residents and their views on the embryonic stem cell research ballot proposal found a soft level of support.

Fairleigh Dickinson University conducted a new poll of voters’ attitudes on the topic and found that 47 percent of state residents back the proposal while 38 percent are opposed to it.

The polling results actually show a movement in the pro-life direction as a previous Rutgers-Eagleton poll found a 57-36 percent split in favor of the proposal.

The ballot initiative asks voters if the state should borrow $450 million to fund stem cell research grants over the next 10 years.

The new poll found 43 percent of men supporting the idea and 45 percent opposed. Women are more likely to support the borrow and clone plan by a 51 to 31 percentage point margin.

Looking at other subgroups in the poll, Democrats support the embryonic stem cell research plan by a 2-1 margin while Republicans oppose it by a 5-3 margin.

Pro-life groups are strongly opposing the vote because the ballot measure, if approved, will force residents to pay for embryonic stem cell research with their tax dollars. The research requires the destruction of days-old unborn children for their stem cells.

New Jersey Right to Life also filed a lawsuit against the ballot proposal because it fails to disclose that the money will also pay for human cloning.

They also say the proposal does not tell voters that the bonds will be paid through higher local property taxes if sales tax revenues are insufficient. The state appeals court ruled against the challenge.

Related web sites:
New Jersey Right to Life –