According to scientists, embryonic stem-cell research may hold the key for curing for Parkinson’s, diabetes and other debilitating diseases. However, there have been many arguments saying the research is a violation of human rights because it would allow the destruction of days-old human embryos.
Besides indicating the ethical issue regarding the destruction of human life, opponents of stem cell research in California also reason that funding for such research projects would increase the state’s debt in addition to its already damaged economy.
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.
Proposition 71 will appear on the State's November 2004 ballot. Advocates of the initiative gathered some 1 million signatures to support funding for the research. Opponents answered back by saying Proposition 71 is bad morally and fiscally for the people of California.
Opponents told Reuters that the bonds could lead to a further decline in California's credit rating, higher taxes, and a depletion of funds for other state services to pay off the massive debts. In the end, the state would be required to pay back $5.4 billion, including debt.
"You're asking taxpayers to foot the bill for something that well-heeled venture capitalists are unwilling to put their own funds into," Tim Rosales, a spokesman for Doctors, Patients and Taxpayers, told Reuters.
Opponents also 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.
"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. David Stevens, executive director of Christian Medical Association, said.