October 22, 2004
Vote to fund stem cell research
We live in an amazing age of scientific achievement, one that holds a great deal of promise to solve many medical mysteries.
Stem cell research is one of the issues on the cutting edge.
A California ballot initiative, Proposition 71, would fund $3 billion worth of stem cell research over the next 10 years. Given the promise of the technology, and the boon this funding might provide to California universities and research facilities, voters should join Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in supporting Proposition 71.
Stem cells are essentially the building blocks of the human body, material that matures from an unspecialized state to perform highly specialized and important functions.
Use of the stem cells for research is thought to hold promise for curing several kinds of cancer, Alzheimer's, lung diseases, spinal problems, diabetes and more.
Opposition to Proposition 71 is, in part, that solving the riddle of stem cells could lead us one step closer to human cloning. Some opponents of stem cell research also link it to the controversial abortion issue, fear that furthering such research will diminish respect for human life.
In fact, furthering the research advances the human cause because it will almost assuredly help save lives.
The measure will give the state oversight of the funds and the research, and prohibits funding for human cloning.
The political dimension of the measure is that the Bush administration has not been supportive of stem cell research to the degree spelled out in Proposition 71.
Some see the measure as a way to pressure the federal government into expanding the parameters of stem cell research. If that is the goal, it is a laudable one. The government should not shackle researchers in such a promising field.
Meanwhile, through Proposition 71, California's biotech industry, especially medical research facilities and universities, will benefit by the boost in this vital area. A spokesman for Gov. Schwarzenegger told the San Francisco Chronicle this week: "Not only could the research funding save lives, but it will infuse capital into an industry we desperately want to make sure stays here in California."
Vote yes on Proposition 71.