As a practicing Catholic, I object to the church instructing her congregations to vote no on Proposition 71. California is being given a tremendous opportunity to pursue research in a field that offers hope and the possibility of a cure to millions suffering from a variety of diseases and injuries. The scientific methods that will be used in the research follow the highest ethical standards and are supported by Nobel laureate scientists throughout the country.
The cells used for embryonic stem-cell research would never be implanted in a uterus; they would be either destroyed or remain frozen forever. Instead, here is an opportunity in which they can yield wonderful, life-giving cures to so many who are suffering.
Ellen M. Engelke
A letter (Oct. 10) urges a “yes” vote on Proposition 71, the stem-cell research proposition, claiming that a vote against Proposition 71 is a roadblock to potential medical breakthroughs and is in opposition to some of the best scientific minds of our time. A vote against Proposition 71 is a vote for fiscal sanity.
That proposition proposes that the state become indebted for $3 billion, and another $3 billion in interest payments, to support a science that has not yet been proved. We are just working our way out of a mountain of debt, and if the state incurs that kind of debt load our credit rating on Wall Street is going to again be in jeopardy. It is an irresponsible proposition for a worthy cause. It is not something the State of California should take on at this time.
In opposing stem-cell research, President Bush talked about how important it was to have a “culture of life.” Because of this culture of life, tens of thousands of unwanted embryos currently at fertility clinics will be flushed down the drain instead of being used for medical research.
However, this administration has killed tens of thousands of actual people on the other side of the globe. And tens of thousands of Americans may die this winter from the flu because this administration doesn’t have a coherent healthcare policy.
I simply don’t understand how killing embryos and people upholds the culture of life, while medical research and diplomacy are threats to the culture of life. Is it me, or does the president have it completely backward?
Medical researchers and patient advocates were pleased to find Proposition 71 on this year’s ballot. However, it contains two serious flaws. It forbids human cloning with state money but not with private funds in state-supported laboratories. A private laboratory supported by California could clone a human with private funds or a private spin-off company.
It describes the sharing of patent revenue instead of requiring that all patented information, technology and product formulation resulting from California funding be freely available to everyone throughout the world. Privately owned patents are a major reason why 90% of patients with AIDS in Africa are untreated, causing suffering and death to millions of people and fueling the spread of a mutating virus that threatens human survival. They are a major obstacle to use of reverse genetics to rapidly develop safe, effective influenza vaccines and a reason why we face this winter with inadequate supplies of an obsolete vaccine. They drive up drug prices for all of us.
Californians who find human cloning repugnant and want the results of biomedical research they finance to benefit everyone and allow progress will vote no on Proposition 71. This will send a message to its framers to correct these flaws before placing it on next year’s ballot.
Donald Pinkel MD
San Luis Obispo
Proposition 71 is more about “slick sell” than stem cell. Proposition 71 is not about the merits of stem-cell research or potential cures for diabetes, Alzheimer’s and the like. Proposition 71 is about who will pay for it -- the weary taxpayers of California or private companies.
California, with its massive debt, is not in a position to take on any more debt no matter how noble the cause. This is much too important than to be put into the hands of an unaccountable government bureaucracy whose funding priorities are not based on results.
I would like to suggest a simple solution for those who think stem-cell research immoral, too expensive or less important than roads or schools. When cures are discovered for diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and blindness (among others), just say “no thanks.”
I would love to see the people who are so filled with clarity now decline the cures and treatments for themselves and loved ones that the research will provide. Now that would be staying true to oneself! I suggest they will be the first ones to step up and reap the benefits that they fought so rabidly to deny all of us.