No Sale on Stem Cells
New Jersey voters yesterday turned down a $450 million, 10-year plan to fund embryonic stem-cell research. Proponents, including Democratic governor John Corzine, argued that the measure would help lead to possible medical cures for a host of maladies. Opponents, including New Jersey Right to Life, said Public Question # 2 would finance "the creation, experimentation and then destruction of cloned human beings through the entire period of normal gestation." NJRL also criticized supporters for their "deceptive failure to disclose that the bonds will be paid through higher local property taxes if sales tax revenues are insufficient."
The outcome marks the first time since 1990 that New Jersey voters have rejected a statewide ballot initiative. The state has already committed $270 million in taxpayer money to pay for stem cell research facilities. New Jersey has the fourth highest debt of any state and the highest property taxes. Other states, however, are likely to pick up the financial slack for such research.
Several states are competing in the research. California previously approved spending $3 billion on stem cell research, Connecticut has a $100 million program, Illinois spent $10 million and Maryland awarded $15 million in grants.
It bears repeating: Embryonic stem cell research involves the destruction of nascent human life. Adult stem cells have no such ethical issues. And just on a pragmatic basis, the choice should be clear by now. According to the website stemcellresearch.org, medical treatments derived from adult stem cells outnumber those derived from embryos 73-0.