2008.10.08 Ryan Shadbolt: Prop. 2

In Mary Marsh Gautz’s letter (Oct. 1), she invites Michigan citizens to research Proposal 2, which will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot.  I fully support her invitation, but I feel that Proposal 2 may be painted unfairly by Gautz and the MiCause.com website that she cites.

In fact, the proposal does not allow for unregulated, unrestricted research on human embryos. Rather, the proposal restricts embryo research to the following limits: the embryos are created for fertility purposes, are not suitable for implantation or are in excess of clinical needs, would be discarded unless used for research, and were donated by the person seeking fertility treatment.  In addition, stem cells cannot be taken from embryos more than 14 days after cell division begins and any sale or purchase of embryos is prohibited.

Others against Proposal 2 may claim that embryonic stem cell research is already allowed when it is funded by private funds and may ask, why should we allow state taxpayer money to pay for this research?  Stem cell research is not my field of study, but as someone who has been frequently funded by research dollars, I can say that at least in my experience, the overwhelming majority of funds for scientific research comes from federal and state sources funded by taxpayers.  Private funds are only a drop in the bucket.

I just want to repeat that the embryos in question here are those intended for, but not used, in fertility purposes. These embryos will simply be discarded.  Therefore, no lives whatsoever will be saved by turning down Proposal 2. As stated by Gautz, there are other options available besides using embryonic stem cells, and those options have promise, but if we also utilize these otherwise wasted embryos, we increase our potential that much more of finding treatments for life-threatening conditions.  In other words, a vote in favor for Proposal 2, is indeed a vote for life.

– Ryan P. Shadbolt

West Bloomfield, Michigan