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California's Proposition 71 is expensive, misleading—and deadly

Human cloning seems a remote possibility to most Americans yet a ballot proposition before California voters would infuse $3 billion into human embryonic research and human cloning. Opponents predict almost all the money from the proposed state constitutional amendment and general obligation bond would go toward human cloning.

If it passes, this massive infusion of cash into U.S. research–in a country which has no federal laws against human cloning–may well make any debate over embryonic stem cell research moot.

California Proposition 71 would make funding for human cloning and embryonic stem cell research a constitutionally protected state right and distribute $3 billion over ten years. The money would come from general obligation bonds at a time the state of California is in the middle of a fiscal crisis that resulted in the downgrading of the state’s credit to near junk bond status.

Nevertheless, on October 18th, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger endorsed Proposition 71 and a host of Hollywood glitterati and politicians support the initiative. Against the proposition are groups who rarely if ever share the same point in the political spectrum: the Catholic Church, pro-choice feminists and scientists, the Green Party and the Peace and Justice Party as well as a number of other enraged grassroots activists. Some of the groups opposing Proposition 71 are the ProChoice Alliance Against Proposition 71, Doctors, Patients, & Taxpayers for Fiscal Responsibility, and Scientists Against Proposition 71. A major supporter of the Proposition is the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative.

Polls show the proposition’s passage is a toss up and that the vote will probably be very close.

Ignatius Insight spoke with and interviewed two activists who are closely following this issue:

Dolores Meehan, spokesperson for the Catholic action group, Catholics for the Common Good. <Read interview here>

Jennifer Lahl, founder and national director of the Center for Bioethics and Culture. <Read interview here>

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