Proposition 71, the deceptively named "California Stem
Cell Research and Cures Act," masks itself as a vote
against the Bush administration's anti-choice and anti-science
Don't be fooled.
Here is the unfortunate reality: Prop 71 is the wrong way
to support embryonic stem cell research. It takes $6 billion
of public money - $3 billion in bonds plus $3 billion interest
- and gives it to an insider group of political appointees
who would be able to make their own rules, with little public
input, control or accountability. And there's no guarantee
that California taxpayers will reap any financial or medical
We support embryonic stem cell research. But Prop 71 is dangerously
Prop 71 is an unprecedented taxpayer subsidy for the biotech
industry, written by those who stand to profit the most.
Some of the technologies involved - particularly "research
cloning" - have the potential for abuse. The researchers'
need for a huge supply of eggs means "harvesting"
them from many thousands of women. This prospect raises troubling
questions about the exploitation of women, especially those
who are young and poor.
It allows scientists to weaken national standards for informed
consent and research on human subjects. It exempts researchers
from some current and even future state laws. The legislature
can't amend it for 3 years - and even then it would take a
70% super-majority plus the Governor!
Proposition 71 would cost California taxpayers $6 billion,
paid over 30 years. Given our state's huge deficit, this money
is likely to come from cuts in education, health care, and
other programs-cuts that would aggravate existing disparities.
Join the National Women's Health Network, Our Bodies Ourselves,
the California Nurses Association, the California Black Women's
Health Project, the Center for Genetics and Society, the Council
on Responsible Genetics, and a growing list of bio-ethicists,
academics, scientists, medical professionals, and advocates,
and Vote No on Prop 71.
The majority of California newspapers
that have taken an editorial position on Proposition 71 have
Many liberal and pro-choice opinion
leaders and columnists are speaking out against Proposition
For an in-depth analysis, see the assessment
by the Center for Genetics and Society.