California's Proposition 71 is expensive, misleadingand
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. researchin
a country which has no federal laws against human cloningmay 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
states 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
Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative.
Polls show the propositions 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
Jennifer Lahl, founder and national director of the Center
for Bioethics and Culture. <Read