Michigan Doctors’ Group Neutral on Embryonic Stem Cell Research Funding

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 5, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Michigan Doctors’ Group Neutral on Embryonic Stem Cell Research Funding

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 5
, 2008

Lansing, MI (LifeNews.com) — The Michigan state group for doctors ended five years of supporting taxpayer funding for embryonic stem cell research and will take a neutral position on an upcoming ballot proposal to make taxpayers pay for it. The Michigan State Medical Society changed its position Sunday at a state meeting.

Backers of making taxpayers fund the destructive research are collecting signatures to get a proposal on the November ballot, but the physicians attending the annual delegates meeting of the medical society say they won’t support the idea.

The Detroit News indicates the doctors engaged in a heated discussion about the proposal.

The Medical Society has supported funding the unproven research since 2003 but decided to take a neutral stance on the potential ballot battle. Instead of weighing in on the vote, the group will educate doctors with research studies and information on the ethical considerations involved.

Donald Condit, a Grand Rapids physician, told the newspaper he wanted the doctors’ group to oppose the ballot proposal but said he’s happy it will stay neutral.

"It maintains harmony among the Michigan State Medical Society where people of good will disagree on this issue," Condit said. "I would have preferred a stronger stance, but I’m very happy the consensus preserves the diversity among Michigan physicians."

Ed Rivet, the legislative director of Right to Life of Michigan, applauded the move.

"This is a critically important development in the debate over embryonic stem cells," he said. "We are extremely pleased and gratified that our state’s largest physician group has put the ethics of life at the forefront of their policy position."

"This move away from support for expanded embryo research in Michigan shows they recognize the moral implications of treating human life as mere research material," he added.

In January, Right to Life of Michigan launched a new stem cell research educational campaign designed to counteract lawmakers who support the proposal.

The educational television ads "give a voice for those who are suffering from injury and disease," the group told LifeNews.com in a statement.

The four-week, state-wide television campaign provided personal testimonies from Jim Yates, whose spinal cord was damaged after falling from a horse, and Kathleen Hulst, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Both share their opposition to embryonic stem cell research and human cloning by providing a personal perspective on the contentious debate.

"We have heard from the doctors, researchers and politicians in Michigan who want to pursue embryonic stem cell research and human cloning for their own gains," RLM president Barb Listing told LifeNews.com.

Research using stem cells obtained from adults and umbilical cord blood has been used to help thousands of people with various ailments.

At least 70 different diseases or ailments have been treated or helped by the use of adult stem cells including Parkinson’s, spinal cord injuries, various forms of leukemia, heart damage and various forms of cancer.

However, embryonic stem cell research has been unsuccessful in animals in part because the cells create tumors after injection and they are rejected by the immune system.

Related web sites:
Right to Life of Michigan – https://www.rtl.org
RLM’s Stem Cell Campaign – https://www.stemcellresearchcures.com