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| | |-+  California: Now Legal to Kill Embryos -- Terminally Ill Patients Next?
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« on: January 04, 2005, 01:17:51 AM »

California: Now Legal to Kill Embryos -- Terminally Ill Patients Next?

by Bill Fancher and Jody Brown
January 3, 2005

(AgapePress) - Voter ignorance -- that's what one pro-life group is saying about the passage last week of Proposition 71 in California. And the media is sharing a lot of the blame, the group adds.

Almost 60 percent of voters in the Golden State last week approved Prop. 71, which establishes both a "California Institute for Regenerative Medicine" and a constitutional right to conduct embryonic stem-cell research (ESCR) -- experimentation that requires the destruction of human embryos. Under the measure, the state's taxpayers could pay as much as much as $6 billion over 30 years to cover the principal and interest for the bonds to fund the research. Pro-life activists had panned the proposal, claiming not only is ESCR unethical but unproductive as well.

Pro-life activist Doug Johnson is with National Right to Life, based in the nation's capital. He says the media has failed to tell Americans the truth about stem-cell research: that more than 20 years of embryonic experiments have produced nothing, while adult stem-cell research has led to many types of treatments.

"It is astonishing to a lot of people, once they start to look at it," Johnson asserts. "There have been successful clinical trials for dozens of different conditions using adult stem cells now, and there are also a number of conditions which are regularly being treated with adult stem cells."

Studies have proven that embryonic stem cells are too unstable, mutate in culture, and fail in trial usage. In contrast, adult stem cells are currently being used to treat more then 50 maladies, including diabetes, Parkinson's, spinal cord injuries, sickle cell anemia, and eyesight restoration. Those successes, Johnson says, have been "greatly under-reported."

"Some aspects of the issue people are learning more about," the activist admits, "and the presidential campaign and the way the issue came up did serve to educate people on some aspects of this. But there's still a lot of ignorance and misconceptions as well."

Next on Deck
In the wake of Prop. 71's passage, California citizens are faced with the possibility of another issue of moral consequence coming to the forefront in their state. Two members of the State Assembly have announced their plans to introduce legislation that would legalize physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients.

According to a report in the Los Angeles Daily News, the bill -- which is being drafted by Democrats Lloyd Levine of Van Nuys and Patty Berg of Santa Rosa -- is based on a similar statute approved by voters in Oregon in 1997. "We're working closely with Oregon, and we've had a couple other state interested in working with us as well," Berg tells the Daily News, "because as California goes, so goes the rest of the nation."

The lawmakers admit they would not be considering the legislation if they did not think they could get it passed. Aspects in favor of the measure's success include a Democrat-dominated legislature in California, and a Republican governor who classifies himself as a social moderate.

The two Assembly members also say the recent departure of John Ashcroft as U.S. Attorney General bodes well for their plans. Ashcroft had been battling it out in court with Oregon over its euthanasia law. Oregon is the only state in the nation that allows physician-assisted suicide.


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