Posts Tagged ‘Adult Stem Cell Research’

Michigan Ballot for 2008: Proposal 2: Stem Cell Research

September 18, 2008

EDIT: Now that WordPress has a little option to put polls in your blog posts, I’ve added a poll at the bottom of my post (the end of the blog post, not the end of the comments).

Alright, as promised, I will now be discussing Michigan’s Proposal 2, “Proposal 2008-02: A proposed constitutional amendment to permit with certain limitations stem cell research in Michigan.”  My analysis of Proposal 1, which legalizes medicinal marijuana is available here.

So, let’s first take a look at the ballot language:

 Stem Cell Research Ballot Question Committee

Ballot Wording as approved by the Board of State Canvassers

August 21, 2008

 

 PROPOSAL 08-2

 

A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO ADDRESS HUMAN EMBRYO AND HUMAN EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH IN MICHIGAN

The proposed constitutional amendment would:

  • Expand use of human embryos for any research permitted under federal law subject to the following limits: the embryos –

– are created for fertility treatment purposes;

– are not suitable for implantation or are in excess of clinical needs;

– would be discarded unless used for research;

– were donated by the person seeking fertility treatment.

  • Provide that stem cells cannot be taken from human embryos more than 14 days after cell division begins.
  • Prohibit any person from selling or purchasing human embryos for stem cell research.
  • Prohibit state and local laws that prevent, restrict or discourage stem cell research, future therapies and cures.

 

Should this proposal be adopted?

Yes o

No o

100 WORDS

So that’s what will actually be on the ballot.  Here is  a copy of the actual amendments that will be made to the Michigan Constitution if this passes.  I’ll have my analysis throughout the amendments as well as a summary at the end:

 INITIATIVE PETITION AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION

A Proposal to Amend the Constitution of the State of Michigan by adding a new Article I, Section 27 as follows:

Article I, Section 27.

(1) Nothing in this section shall alter Michigan’s current prohibition on human cloning.

(2) To ensure that Michigan citizens have access to stem cell therapies and cures, and to ensure that physicians and researchers can conduct the most promising forms of medical research in this state, and that all such research is conducted safely and ethically, any research permitted under federal law on human embryos may be conducted in Michigan, subject to the requirements of federal law and only the following additional limitations and requirements:

(a) No stem cells may be taken from a human embryo more than fourteen days after cell division begins; provided, however, that time during which an embryo is frozen does not count against this fourteen day limit.

(b) The human embryos were created for the purpose of fertility treatment and, with voluntary and informed consent, documented in writing, the person seeking fertility treatment chose to donate the embryos for research; and

i. the embryos were in excess of the clinical need of the person seeking the fertility treatment and would otherwise be discarded unless they are used for research; or

ii. the embryos were not suitable for implantation and would otherwise be discarded unless they are used for research.

This is where I need to bring up a key flaw in the whole debate over embryonic stem cell research (ESCR).  You have the camp who opposes ESCR because they believe that life begins at conception, and I fall into this camp.  Then you have the camp who argues, “But they’re going to be discarded anyway.”  And this is where the ESCR opposition has somewhat failed.  Many don’t address this issue and simply say, “Well, we shouldn’t be doing research on them.”  That’s not the point.  The point needs to be that instead of making EXTRA embryos for in vitro fertilization, we should be making embryos AS NEEDED.  Sure, it’s costlier, but it doesn’t create embryos that will be destroyed.  Now, if you don’t believe that life begins at conception, then this point is irrelevant.  I just wanted to point out that the issue for pro-lifers should NOT be that ESCR is the problem, but that the creation of EXTRA embryos is the main problem.  Once we stop this, ESCR will become irrelevant.

(c) No person may, for valuable consideration, purchase or sell human embryos for stem cell research or stem cell therapies and cures.

Good provision.

(d) All stem cell research and all stem cell therapies and cures must be conducted and provided in accordance with state and local laws of general applicability, including but not limited to laws concerning scientific and medical practices and patient safety and privacy, to the extent that any such laws do not:

i. prevent, restrict, obstruct, or discourage any stem cell research or stem cell therapies and cures that are permitted by the provisions of this section; or

ii. create disincentives for any person to engage in or otherwise associate with such research or therapies or cures.

(3) Any provision of this section held unconstitutional shall be severable from the remaining portions of this section.

I understand that this is a common practice in proposals, but with this being such a small proposal, I think that if a section of this proposal is held unconstitutional, ESPECIALLY in section (2)(b), the whole proposal will become extremely weaker than initially intended.

Overall, I don’t like the proposal.  I don’t think we should be making ANY extra embryos, and justifying it by saying, “Well why let those embryos go to waste” will inhibit us from ending the bad practice of making excess embryos.

Plus, adult and umbilical stem cells have proven to be way more helpful than ESCs, which have given us NOTHING so far.

So, I’m sure you’ve guessed it by now–I will be voting “No” for this come November.  As of now, my prediction is that this proposal will fail with voters voting somewhere around 43-57%.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Focus On the Family’s James Dobson Will “Pull that Lever” for John McCain

September 3, 2008

Late last week (right after Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) gave her speech with John McCain), Focus on the Family’s Dr. James Dobson went on Dennis Prager’s radio show, and told people that he was endorsing McCain.  I have the transcript below (thanks to Townhall.com for the transcript), with my analysis throughout the interview.  This is a change from what Dobson had said earlier in the year, but I predicted that he’d endorse and vote for McCain, and it looks like I was right:

Dennis Prager: I have a guest here who’s extremely significant in American life, whether you call it American political, certainly American religious life, one of the best known Christians in America— Dr. James Dobson who is president and founder of Focus on the Family….  The last time you were on was a very serious conversation about your feeling at the time that you just couldn’t vote for John McCain, and where do you stand now?

Dr. James Dobson: Well, Dennis, I shared with a colleague just a few minutes ago exactly what you said about the period of time when Ronald Reagan had broken onto the scene and I was in Washington D.C. the day he was inaugurated.  That was one of the most exciting days of my life, because everything that we had hoped for and been working for had come to pass.  I feel very much that way today.  Maybe that’s an overstatement.  Maybe time won’t validate it, but this is a very exciting and encouraging day for conservatives and pro-family activists.  I am just very, very pleased.

Well, you can tell that Dobson was really pleased with McCain picking Palin.  He was probably pretty surprised too – I know I sure was.  But I like Palin.  She seems like a good conservative, but not a politician who’s dedicated to the Republican party no matter what.  I know this is said a lot, but she IS a reformer.

Prager: In light of that, may I infer that when you enter the voting booth—and I am putting you on the spot.  I fully acknowledge, and you’re certainly free to say it’s a secret ballot you don’t want to say, but you’re too public to really get away with that, so what’s the story right now?

Dobson: Well, you know I did a radio program about a month ago with Dr. Albert Mohler, and we talked about what was at stake in this election and our concerns about the policies that Barack Obama would implement.  The more I hear the more I learn, the more concerned I am, and so on that program Dr. Mohler and I talked about the fact that John McCain is not the perfect candidate.  He’s certainly would not be my choice and, for over a year, I did not feel that I could vote for him.  But I said in that radio program that “I can’t say it now”—which was then, because I didn’t know who his vice presidential choice would be, and he if would come up with Lieberman or Tom Ridge or somebody like that, we’d be back in a hole again.  But I said for the first time “I might, I might.”  And some people call that a flip-flop.  If they do, so be it.  Campaigns are long.  You get information.  You find out what the choices are.  So I’ve been moving in John McCain’s direction.  I don’t know if anybody cares, but for me…

And that’s the radio program that I talked about earlier when I gave my prediction that Dobson would soon officially go over to the McCain camp.

Prager: Plenty, plenty of people care and that’s why I am having you on.  I care, many people care and you have a lot of followers.  You have earned the right to that respect.  So are you prepared to say, “Folks, look, given this pick and all I have learned about what would happen with a Democratic victory we have no choice, but to enthusiastically work for the McCain-Palin ticket?”

Boy is that statement true.  Dobson has a huge following, and he is looked to for advice and guidance during election years, and I think a lot of the Religious Right will look to him again come November.

Dobson: You know, I have only endorsed one presidential candidate in my life and that was George Bush in the second term after I had watched him for four years.  I did not do that in his first term.  So I’m very reluctant to do that.  You marry a politician you can be a widow pretty quickly.

And his support for Bush was one of the things that helped Bush win.

Prager: That’s right.

Dobson: But I can tell you that if I had to go into the studio, I mean the voting booth today, I would pull that lever.

Prager: Well this is a very big deal.

Dobson: And that’s a long way’s from where I told you a year ago.

Prager: No kidding.  No kidding.  I am honored that you used this show to make that statement.

Well, I called this one, so it’s not a huge surprise to me.  But it is a big deal.  I was just discussing this with my roommates, and I honestly think that Dobson probably has the most sway of anybody out there when it comes to endorsements (other than Lieberman this year).  Without him, a lot of the Religious Right would just stay home.

Dobson: You know, Dennis, the things that concern me about John McCain are still there.  I made those comments not just based on emotions, but based on his record and some of the things that took place—embryonic stem cell research, and other things, the campaign finance, and other things.  Those are still there.  So, there’s still concerns.  But I tell you, when I look at the choices that are ahead and what the implications are for this country, and now especially with this selection, with just an outstanding V.P. candidate as a running mate, I tell you what I am relieved and very excited.

And those are the things I don’t like about McCain as well, but I honestly see him as shying away from embryonic stem cells, since other stem cell breakthroughs are coming through now.

Prager: Well, if you’re very excited given your previous reservations then I have to believe, and certainly based on the handful of calls I’ve been able to take the first hour before my “Happiness Hour,” I took the calls and people were so excited, palpably excited.  Jim Dobson, and I got to tell you… if your base is energized then that is the biggest nightmare that the left has.

Dobson: I was just with about 300, maybe 400 people in a large auditorium, and they put Sarah Palin’s speech on the screen and we sat there and watched.  I’m telling you it was electric.  These were conservatives, you know.  They were mostly Christian, but not all of them were.  I mean to tell you, it set that crowd on fire.  If that’s any indication, I think we are going to see some things.

Prager: We sure are.  Well, you made my day.  I just want you to know that.

And that’s very true – the Religious Right love Palin.  And these were the people that McCain needed to shore up, and I think he has done that for most of the group.  With Dobson’s endorsement, there will be very few members of the Religious Right that won’t go out and vote for Obama.

Ultimately, we won’t know the effects of this until November, but this makes me a lot more confident in my prediction that McCain will be the victor.

Done Analyzing,

Ranting Republican
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Why Pro-Lifers Should Vote for John McCain: From a Pro-Life Prospective

May 8, 2008

I’ve just gotten done with what seems like my 500th debate with a pro-lifer who claims they won’t vote for McCain.  Now, I myself am extremely pro-life (no abortions, not even under circumstances of rape, incest, or mother’s life [except tubal pregnancies where it is impossible for the baby to survive], no embryonic stem cell research, etc…).  I would NOT vote for Rudy Giuliani, and I will vote for a pro-life Democrat over a pro-choice Republican.  Being pro-life has ALWAYS been important to me, since I was a little kid, and this election is no different.

Many pro-lifers say that McCain isn’t pro-life enough enough, especially when it comes to embryonic stem cells.  I’ll give them that – I am saddened that McCain supports experiments that have so far yielded ZERO productive results, but McCain is not an advocate of ESC research, McCain is an advocate of what works, and as it is shown more and more that adult SCs are yielding results, I think he will begin to oppose ESC research.

Now, McCain’s voting record.  I have heard the argument that his voting record is not pro-life enough.  I always respond, “Other than ESC research, show me one pro-choice thing he has voted for. [Silent pause] That’s because he hasn’t.”  In the 109th Congress, McCain had a 75% voting record from the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) and a 0% rating from the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL Pro-Choice America).  Meanwhile, Obama and Clinton have been rated 0% by the NRLC and 100% by NARAL.

The reason that a lot of pro-lifers are saying that they won’t vote for McCain is that “We need to turn the party around and teach Republicans a lesson that they can’t do this again.”  Well, I have a problem with that, and it’s called the Supreme Court.  The next President will nominate one Justice for sure (to replace John Paul Stevens), and most likely another (to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg).  Both of those justices are pro-choice.

If the pro-life religious right wants to teach the Republican Party a lesson, do NOT do it during a time when Roe v. Wade could be overturned.  2 pro-life Justices would change the Court from a 4-5 pro-life vote to a 6-3 pro-life vote.  If you ask me, teaching a lesson to a party should NOT be done at the expense of millions of helpless babies.

I recently heard Rocky Raczkowski (Michigan Representative who was planning on running for Senate until he got called back to serve in the Army), and he said, “If pro-life voters don’t vote for John McCain, shame on them,” and I agree.

Even if McCain appoints pro-choice judges, how is that any worse than what Clinton or Obama would do?  Why should we risk letting somebody that we KNOW for SURE will appoint pro-choice justices to the bench?  I would vote for McCain if there were only a 10% chance in him appointing somebody pro-life, over Clinton or Obama where that chance is 0.0000001% (you never know how the Justice will vote until they actually vote), but McCain himself has said he’ll appoint a pro-life person.  On other occasions, he’s said that he will appoint somebody like John Roberts or Samuel Alito, and that he would use the same people that Bush used to find Justices like that.

If you are pro-life, and you vote against John McCain / don’t vote, and Obama or Clinton (Obama will be the nominee) gets elected by a slim margin, the blood of those innocent babies will be on your conscience.

Now is not the time to send a message to the party.  Do that when millions of lives aren’t at stake.

(My apologies if any of this doesn’t make sense – I just got back from oral surgery and I’m on vicodin right now, so if something just doesn’t make any sense, leave a comment and I’ll revise it when I’m all with it.)

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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