I told you earlier about Proposal 2, a proposed constitutional amendment here in Michigan. The lies being spread about this proposal are thick and vicious. Orac also goes into a bit of detail about the dishonest tactics being used, mostly by religious groups, to try and stop this prop.
Just to remind you, Prop 2 would prevent the state and local governments in Michigan from passing laws against human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research that are any more restrictive than federal law. That’s about it. The law does not set up any government agencies, taxes, fees or mandates. It only keeps Michigan safe from theocratic laws that inhibit research funded by non-governmental agencies. hESC research is a growing and important field, which has the potential to give significant insights into human disease, and perhaps some day, treatments as well. hESC’s are different from other stem cells used in laboratories. They are derived as a byproduct of infertility treatment. When harvesting eggs from a woman, there are inevitably more embryos produced than can be safely implanted in the patient, and unused embryos (each of which is a microscopic blob of cells) are usually discarded. If the parents wish, they can donate these cell clusters to science.
These are not fetuses. This is not abortion. The cell clusters have no arms and legs, no faces, nothing to identify them as anything that could grow into an animal. Any arguments that equate stem cell research with abortion are patently false.
Now some religious folks have moral objections to stem cell research, mostly those who believe that “life” begins at conception. It is unlikely that any of these people will support Prop 2, and they have an honest, albeit misguided reason for doing so.
What really gets my goat is the campaign of lies that is hiding this religious motive. Commercials are saying that Prop 2 will require government spending, will encourage selling of human parts, and all manner of weird accusations (including the man-cow hybrid thinggie).
So my wife, who is a very busy person, took some time out of a very busy day to get the word out. She went to someone’s house to pick up Prop 2 literature, read it, asked questions, and went door-to-door in our neighborhood to spread the word.
She has a lot of reasons for wanting to do this, not the least of which is our nephew, a type I diabetic since the age of four, who may stand to benefit in the future from hESC research. She rightly thinks that he is more important than the “dignity” of a few cells in a dish.
My wife, who is an educator by profession, but not a scientist, did her reading, learned what she needed to, and put together a non-partisan message to bring to our neighbors. It took a lot of chutzpah, and I’m just so darn proud of her.