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November 5, 2008

Embryonic research passes in Michigan

I'm eager to read some analysis on this later. During this election cycle, biologists found several ways to research on stem cells without destroying embryos. And still Michigan passed a state constitutional amendment greenlighting embryonic research.

Was it that voters didn't know about the developments?

Were they swayed by the argument that the research would only be on "discarded" frozen embryos from fertility treatment, and the donors (parents) gave their permission?

Or is the embryonic stem cell battle over despite the scientific developments?

In any case, Michigan passed the amendment.


How did Michigan Proposal 2 pass? I suggest that a major reason is economics.

Michigan suffers at the hand of a remarkable economic downturn. Michigan needs to rev up revenues. Those who have the financial resources are willing to invest in cutting edge technology for the ultimate cure. Proponents of embryonic stem cell (ESC) research tout ESC research as the ultimate cure for the most dreaded human diseases. Individuals, businesses, and governments will invest, because of the promise of profits and returns on investments (ROI). Patients who have the financial resources will gladly pay exorbitant amounts of money to pursue cures. Insurance companies, once the research convinces them that ESC based therapy will drastically reduce if not eliminate long term health care costs, will gladly pay large, "up front" treatment costs for the promise of larger, long term savings, which in turn means more cash for salaries and stockholder dividends. Additionally, new research opportunities mean new research grant money that pays salaries, buys equipment, and lessens the budgetary burdens of universities already strapped for cash. Moreover, new technological advancements bring new ideas and techniques, which require copyright and patent protections that demand royalties and licensing fees. And new advancements attract alumni, politicos, faculty, and students, who bring additional donations, state funds, tuition, and grant money to the institutional coffers. In sum, many see ESC research and potential ESC based therapies as means for providing the economic up-turn Michigan sorely desires and needs.

In the end, the extravagant promises and profits associated with ESC research may not yield the panacea sought by so many. Nor will the continuing success of non-embryonic stem cell research benefit from the influx of these dedicated funds. But a few will enjoy a temporary reprieve from the financial burdens afflicting Michigan by exploiting our fears of disease and financial ruin, while forsaking ethics for economics.

As I worked against this proposal and listened to well-educated people and people I respect in many ways, and who are smarter and more productive than myself, I was just astounded by the simple ignorance of the topic. There was such a lack of facts out there and a whole lot of false statements made in TV ads for passing the bill...the biggest was NOT using the word EMBYONIC in mentioning 'stem cell research'.
This may seem minor to some but it is very frustrating to listed to the ignorance when ever TV news reporters talk. There are absolutely NO facts in which there is even one good result from the many many years of EMBRYONIC STEM CELL research going on, biggest in WISCONSIN AND other states and also at the UNIV. of MI. The research and work that has been successful and is progressing with stem cells is the way to go, as there has been cures, and progress. People are just ignorant and we have a ridicules amendment to the state constitution because of ignorance and greed. Just read the information on the subject before you vote a "YES" on anything believing it is good! Ignorance and the media, and the loudest voices and a lot of money made this proposal pass. Watch and see. It is going to be very difficult to reverse this stupid amendment to the constitution!