Post-Election Education

Pro-lifers weigh options after Californians fund embryonic stem-cell research.

Christian liberties organizations and pro-life groups are perplexed in the wake of the overwhelming decision by Californians last fall to fund embryonic stem-cell research. No legal challenges are imminent.

In November, 59 percent of California voters approved Proposition 71, the Stem-Cell Research and Cures Initiative. The measure authorizes the state to spend $300 million annually on research during the next decade. During the next 30 years the state will borrow an additional $3 billion to pay for the research.

Any ballot measure to reverse course would be at least two years away. Mike Spence, vice president of the California Pro-Life Council, an affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee, said a quicker and more practical way to counter the measure might be through the state legislature.

"We're also looking at a possible court challenge," Spence told Christianity Today. Spence said the appeal could hinge on cloning, which, while banned under national guidelines, will become part of embryonic stem-cell research.

Any legislative approach would require educating voters, Spence said. "From the number of Protestants and Catholics who voted for the proposition, it's evident there are a lot of myths and misconceptions."

An August Pew Research Center survey found that one-third of evangelicals thought it was more important to conduct research than to protect human embryos.

David Stevens, executive director of the Christian Medical Association, believes more Golden State residents are wary of embryonic stem-cell research when they understand the science behind it. Stevens lectured in California 17 times in just the first week after the election. He found that many listeners, even those at universities, did not understand that ...

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Post-Election Education
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January 2005

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