Embryonic Stem Cell Bills Bad Public Policy for Michigan
State Must Not Turn to “Clone and Kill’ Measures to Solve Economic Woes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(LANSING)—Michigan Catholic Conference announced its vehement opposition to proposed legislation that seeks to boost the state’s struggling economy by appropriating public tax dollars for human cloning and destructive embryo research. The Conference is urging Michigan legislators to direct their attention toward ethical adult stem cell research, which does not kill human embryos and is currently treating some 58 debilitating conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, brain cancer, heart damage and juvenile diabetes.
“The proposed legislation represents an ideology that says by spending public tax dollars to clone human beings and destroy living embryos the state will be addressing its economic concerns,” said Michigan Catholic Conference Vice President for Public Policy Paul A. Long. “The Michigan Legislature should look at more reasoned and ethical approaches to bring jobs to the state rather than relying on ‘clone and kill’ public policy measures.”
The proposed legislation seeks to undo Michigan’s ban on human cloning, which has been in effect since 1998 and is considered to be one of the strongest in the country. Relaxing the state’s cloning ban is an integral part of the legislation since ‘therapeutic cloning’ involves cloning a human being to extract the stem cells, which causes the death of the embryo. While proponents claim the legislation will enhance the state’s human cloning ban, it will, in fact, legalize human cloning and mandate those human clones be destroyed. The proposed measures also require the embryo to be terminated within a certain time frame, effectively mandating the creation and destruction of a human being for the first time in Michigan history.
Public sentiment against cloning human embryos to be destroyed in medical research remains strong, despite exaggerated and widely publicized claims by supporters that such cloning is essential to medical “progress.” The practice is opposed 77 percent to 15 percent, according to a survey conducted May 6-11 by International Communications Research. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.
“Whether supporters of the proposed legislation use the term ‘therapeutic cloning’ or ‘somatic cell nuclear transfer,’ at the end of the day it still requires cloning human beings and conducting research on stem cells lines derived from the killing of living embryos,” said Long. “We encourage science to research life-threatening conditions, but it must never be exempt from moral and ethical imperatives. Adult stem cell research offers the promise and record of considerable success.”
Adult stem cells are present in numerous locations of the body and last throughout the course of life. While extracting stem cells from embryos to establish embryonic stem cell lines kills the embryo, neither the use of adult stem cells nor the establishment of adult stem cell lines involves a disproportionate risk to the individual from whom the cells are taken. Adult stem cell research is currently treating some 58 conditions and, to date, embryonic stem cell research has yet to produce treatment for a single debilitating condition.
Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.