On Friday, Sept 3, The Christian Medical Association (CMA) announced that it opposes the proposed California ballot measure that would allow California to spend billions of taxpayer dollars on embryonic stem cell research. The organization indicated that embryonic stem cell research is a violation of human rights because it would allow the destruction of days-old human embryos.
Many scientists claim embryonic stem cells, derived from excess embryos created during in-vitro fertilization, have the potential to cure spinal cord injuries, diabetes, Parkinson's and many other diseases. Opponents contend the promise of stem cells is far off in the future, and the research requires destruction of human life.
"Sacrificing embryos for their stem cells crosses the moral and ethical line that has prohibited harmful research on humans," explains David Stevens, MD, CMA's executive director. "Promising cures to desperate patients as if they are just around the corner is, to put it kindly, disingenuous."
"Once we succumb to the false principle that medical benefits justify exploitative research, there will be an ever-expanding group who will become targets of harmful research in the name of medical progress," Dr. Stevens added.
Currently, there is no state level funding for stem cell research and political roadblocks have severely limited federal funding for the project. In response to this situation, a coalition of California families and medical experts introduced Proposition 71 in effort of closing the stem cell research funding gap. The initiative will generate $3 billion from tax-free state bonds in a period of 10 year to fund the stem cell research, including therapeutic cloning, a process that involves the cloning of an embryo for the purpose of harvesting its stem cells.
Opponents of the embryonic stem cell research funding measure say that 50% of the costs for the initiative will go to pay interest on the bonds and that only 30% of the entire funding proposal will actually back the research.