October 22, 2009
Today the University of Michigan released details of the $6.8 million
in federal stimulus-fund grants given to scientists for stem cell research.
While Michigan needs the economic boost, questions on ethical research
are being highlighted by Right to Life of Michigan.
Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said, "Ten out of
the 11 grants awarded to the University of Michigan scientists do not
involve human embryonic stem cells as material for the research. That
is the good news, however, one grant does require human embryo stem cells
to be used. In order for researchers to obtain embryonic stem cells, a
human embryo must be killed. Killing some human beings in the vague hope
of treating others isn’t valuing human lives and it isn’t ethical research."
Some have suggested that the passage of Proposal 2 in 2008 has encouraged
the biomedical field in Michigan. The reality is that the passage of Proposal
2 did nothing to aid scientists in winning the $6.8 million in grants
from our federal government. Proposal 2 legalized experimentation on and
the killing of human embryos in Michigan for research purposes. There
were no restrictions on stem cell research in Michigan prior to Proposal
2. Embryonic stem cell research has been occurring at the University of
Michigan with the support of federal tax dollars since 2003. The University
of Michigan candidly states that the one human embryonic stem cell study
funded by the federal stimulus grants would have been permitted prior
to the passage of Proposal 2.
There are no new treatments from embryonic stem cell research. No human
being has yet to be successfully treated with embryonic stem cells. The
FDA halted the only approved embryonic stem cell research clinical trial
because of safety concerns.
In 2008, Right to Life of Michigan worked tirelessly as part of a coalition
of Michigan citizens who joined together against unrestricted experimentation
on live human embryos. MiCAUSE, Michigan Citizens Against Unrestricted
Science and Experimentation, was put into place to provide accurate information
so citizens could be informed about the November 2008 state-wide ballot
A slim majority of Michigan voters passed Proposal 2 which amended the
state constitution to allow “leftover” embryos in fertility clinics to
be donated for destructive research, with their parent’s consent. The
amendment comes with no definitions, no accountability and no penalties
for violating the provisions set forth. Right to Life of Michigan supports
a bipartisan package of bills introduced in June 2009 which draw clear
parameters around this research as promised by the proponents and voted
on by the people.
Despite the passage of Proposal 2, Right to Life of Michigan will continue
to fight any measures to expand further the destruction of human life
in the name of research. Right to Life of Michigan continues to support
ethical and proven stem cell research that today is benefiting those who
are ill and suffering.
For More Information:
Right to Life of Michigan Legislative Director
Ed Rivet at 517-487-3376