California Voters to Decide on $3 Billion Embryonic Stem Cell Research Bond

Melanie Hunter | Deputy Managing Editor | Tuesday, October 26, 2004

California Voters to Decide on $3 Billion Embryonic Stem Cell Research Bond

( - On Election Day, voters in California will decide on a ballot measure that authorizes a $3 billion bond ($300 million a year in taxpayer dollars for 10 years) to pay for embryonic stem cell research.

Dubbed the "clone and kill" bond by a group of Sacramento-area ministers, Proposition 71 has been endorsed by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"The destruction of innocent human life for experimentation is unethical, especially when the real promise of healing is found in cord blood and adult stem cells - research that Prop. 71 rashly refuses," said Pastor Jonathan Zachariou, spokesman for Ministers for Medical Ethics.

"Proposition 71 is morally, medically and financially wrong for the people of California," said Zachariou. His group held a press conference on the issue Tuesday.

According to the secretary of state, Proposition 71 would establish "California Institute for Regenerative Medicine" to regulate embryonic stem cell research and provide funding through grants and loans. It would also establish a constitutional right to conduct stem cell research and prohibits Institute's funding of human reproductive cloning research.

The initiative would establish an oversight committee to govern the Institute. It would provide a General Fund loan up to $3 million for the Institute's initial administration/implementation costs and authorize issuance of general obligation bonds to finance Institute activities up to $3 billion subject to annual limit of $350 million.

And finally, the initiative would appropriate monies from the General Fund to pay for bonds.

Concerned Women for America senior policy director Wendy Wright called Proposition 71 "a financial and moral train wreck for the state of California."

The "No on 71" campaign, which also opposes the stem cell research initiative, plans to air radio spots in Los Angeles which began airing Tuesday, the Sacramento Bee reports.

"While (opponents) disagree for various reasons, it speaks to how widespread and diverse the opposition is," the Bee quoted Tim Rosales, a spokesman for "No on 71," as saying. "There is something in this proposition for everyone to dislike."

Opponents of Proposition 71 have reportedly spent $17,000 on the ad, while supporters of the initiative have raised over $24 million and aired TV ads for a month.

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.