News Release: New Poll: Michigan Residents Overwhelmingly Opposed to Cloning and Destroying Human Embryos

April 26, 2007

(LANSING)—A statewide poll commissioned by the Michigan Catholic Conference reinforces the organization’s position that Michigan residents are overwhelmingly opposed to measures that would clone and destroy human embryos for research purposes, the Conference announced today. While embryonic stem cell research proponents have begun focusing on claims that the research will benefit the state’s lagging economy, less than 33 percent of those surveyed would vote to eliminate Michigan’s human cloning ban.

“This poll lends helpful insight to the attitude of Michigan residents and their feelings toward embryonic stem cell research, especially when the important detail of cloning and destroying human embryos is addressed,” said Michigan Catholic Conference Vice President for Public Policy Paul A. Long.

The poll, which was taken April 15–16, 2007, revealed the following:

  1. “Would you vote yes or no on a proposal that would eliminate Michigan’s ban on the cloning of human embryos?”
    • Yes: 32 percent
    • No: 65 percent
  2. “Do you support or oppose stem cell research that clones human embryos so the stem cells can be removed?”
    • Support: 34 percent
    • Oppose: 59 percent
  3. “Do you support or oppose stem cell research that kills the human embryo so the stem cells can be removed?”
    • Support: 25 percent
    • Oppose: 70 percent
  4. “While I think we need to find cures for horrible diseases, I worry about the future if the cloning of human embryos is allowed”
    • Agree: 73 percent
    • Disagree: 22 percent
  5. “I trust our elected officials, politicians and government leaders to make sure the cloning of embryos for stem cell research is not abused and is properly controlled.”
    • Agree: 37 percent
    • Disagree: 60 percent
  6. “Do you support or oppose stem cell research that uses adult stem cells or stem cells from umbilical cords?”
    • Support: 85 percent
    • Oppose: 12 percent

Legislation recently introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives seeks to amend Public Act 368 of 1978—the state law that prohibits the destruction of human embryos for research purposes. According to the legislation, the state would allow researchers not only to destroy human embryos, but also permit them to be cloned utilizing the process known in the scientific community as Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT). SCNT is described by organizations such as the American Medical Association as “therapeutic cloning,” striking an odd difference between “reproductive cloning,” considering no therapeutic treatments have resulted from SCNT.

“Regardless of what term is used to make cloning sound more amendable to the public, the bottom line is that cloning is cloning is cloning,” said Long. “It is our hope that those who support legislative efforts and a possible ballot proposal will be upfront and honest with Michigan residents, eliminate the euphemisms, and truthfully discuss the details of embryonic stem cell research and its relation to human cloning.”

The poll, which has a margin of error of 4.38 percent, was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies April 15–16 and surveyed 500 likely voters.

“We continue our call for increased statewide efforts to elevate awareness of and funding for adult stem cell research in an effort to increase the number of treatments that are regularly occurring with adult stem cells,” says Long.

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.

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