Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Fire up the ballot proposal for stem cell research

Might as well just get started on putting that together for '08. Legislation to change our laws on stem cell research are going nowhere in the Senate, according to Tom George (R-Kalamazoo), chair of the Senate Health Policy Committee.

Andy Meisner and Mark Meadows have sponsored legislation in the House that will allow researchers to create stem cell lines and increase penalties for cloning. A hearing is set for tomorrow morning. Meisner expects the bills to pass, but George indicates the Senate will obstruct. From MIRS-

Even if the bills arrive in the Senate, George, one of two physicians in the Senate and the chair of the Senate Health Policy Committee, said he doesn't expect them to survive.

"I don't think it's going through the Senate," George said.

George considers the legislation insignificant because Michigan labs researching stem cells can purchase more from out of state if necessary.

Sure they could. Heck, they could just do it all out of state. We have already explored the ways that these restrictive laws are costing Michigan jobs and money.

Jack Lessenberry has a great essay today that points out the insanity of letting one extreme faction control the destiny of this issue. Make sure you go read that- and follow over the flip for a few excerpts...

Our future is being held hostage by Right to Life of Michigan, a group which wants to do for medical progress what the Inquisition did for freedom of thought. We are one of the most backward states in the union when it comes to embryonic stem cell research.

Nobody is as backward as we are except North and South Dakota, Louisiana and Arkansas. That's right. Alabama and Mississippi are more enlightened than we are on what scientists generally agree is the most promising medical frontier.

The thought of Alabama and Mississippi being more enlightened than Michigan ought to send chills up your spine, unless, of course, you can't feel your spine. This research might help with that, and just think, we could be doing that research right here in Michigan, leading the way in the nation on cures for debilitating disease and attracting investment and the jobs of the future.

Embryonic stem cell research holds the potential to develop cures for disease, including Parkinson's, diabetes and macular degeneration. Even cautious scientists believe that in time and after experimentation, they may be able to use stem cells and a process called Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer to regenerate damaged nervous systems. What that means is that people with severe spinal cord injuries may be able someday to get up and walk.

What you would think is that government at every level should be pouring billions into this research. Yet we can't do it at all in Michigan. That's because of religious fanatics who think it violates the sanctity of human life. They want you to think that the scientists want to destroy human life to do this research.

George actually has a more obscure reference than that, so obscure that you can't really follow his line of thinking here. What does this mean exactly?

Allowing Michigan researchers to convert human embryos into stem cell lines is no more likely to lead to medical breakthroughs than creating rubber tree plantations will lead to more automobile manufacturers, said Sen. Tom George.

And that comes from a doctor. Amazing.

Lessenberry sums it up for us.

What we need, and deserve, is a statewide vote on whether to allow embryonic stem cell research.

Our future is at stake, in every possible way.

As we have seen this year, the legislators in Michigan give no thought to our future, only to pleasing the special interests that control them today. It would be nice to see these bills pass, and there is still hope that it may happen, but chances are we will have to take this one to the voters next November.