New Jersey Voters Reject $450 Million for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 6, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Jersey Voters Reject $450 Million for Embryonic Stem Cell Research Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 6,

Trenton, NJ ( — In a defeat for embryonic stem cell research proponents, New Jersey voters rejected a ballot measure Tuesday that would have forced taxpayers to spend $450 million on the destructive research. Pro-life groups campaigned against the proposal because it would also have funded human cloning experiments.

Residents of the northeastern state defeated Public Question # 2 with 53 percent of the vote coming in against it.

Marie Tasy, the head of New Jersey Right to Life, told the result is a major defeat for Governor Jon Corzine, who personally campaigned for this Question and contributed $200,000 to a shadow group which ran radio ads and made phone calls featuring Michael J. Fox.

The pro-life group challenged the ballot referendum in court for its deceptive nature and ran radio ads featuring Police Detective Steven McDonald who was shot in the line of duty.

Detective McDonald urged a No vote on Public Question # 2, saying that embryonic stem cell research has yet to find any cures for patients and may not for decades.

"Today’s vote is a victory for New Jersey citizens," Tasy told

"This was an ill-conceived plan from the beginning. In the end, the people recognized that this $450 Million Boondoggle was politics masquerading as science and soundly rejected it," she said.

Others responding to the vote agreed that taxpayers sent a clear message that the state didn’t need to borrow and spend such a huge sum of money in a time of fiscal crisis.

Steve Lonegan, a conservative Republican who also opposed the measure, told AP that "It’s a reinforcement of our values and a rebuke to the governor. The taxpayers are saying enough is enough."

Senate President Richard J. Codey, a Democrat who contributed $100,000 from his leadership PAC to run radio ads backing the unproven research, spun the results as not being a referendum on the research itself.

"The taxpayers of New Jersey are not against stem cell research," he said. "It’s clear. The message we’re getting is put your fiscal house in order and then do these things."

Early polling showed support for the ballot question but found levels dropping off shortly before the actual vote.

Fairleigh Dickinson University conducted 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 showed a movement in the pro-life direction as a previous Rutgers-Eagleton poll found a 57-36 percent split in favor of the proposal.

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 –