Saturday, October 25, 2008

Yes or No for a Constitutional Amendment

Sure, lawn signs for candidates are all over the place but I don’t recall seeing ones for the ballot proposals here in Michigan. On the corner near where I live there is a sign for a yes vote on Proposition 2.

This election there will be two state-wide proposals. Proposal 1 concerns the legalization of marijuana for medical use. Proposal 2 would relax the ban on embryonic stem cell research.

I will be voting no on Proposal 1. First, I’m not convinced in the superiority of medical marijuana over other alternative treatments. Second this is an ill-conceived plan because it does not adequately design a system from legal production to legal permission to legal use. Finally, this does not provide adequate protections for users but, more importantly, for medical personnel and “licensed” producers since this would be in contradiction to federal laws which prohibit cannabis.

What I really wanted to bring up was Proposal 2 because on my way home today from the family farm, I was amused by a sign that said, “Proposal 2 Goes 2 Far.” I think that claim is utter bull crap. Currently, Michigan does not allow any type of research on embryos where those embryos will be destroyed. This is an extension on the ban on human cloning because in many people’s mind, such research is unethical. What Proposal 2 would do is relax this ban so that stem cell research can be conducted using embryos that are under 14 days worth of cellular division, that have been created for infertility treatments but are no longer wanted and would be discarded.

In my mind, if we are to put the value of human life onto these embryos, then shouldn’t our laws reflect that? We have already decided that is permissible to create human embryos knowing that many of them will not be viable—that many of them would be discarded. That, to me, suggests that we are comfortable creating them and then discarding them as if they were property not lives. The proposal does not allow for the creation of embryos for scientific research, only to allow research on non-viable specimens.

In consideration of the practical benefits that this research can produce, I do not believe that the relaxation of the ban on embryonic research to be unethical or outside the meaning and spirit of existing law.

1 comment:

Jivin J said...

David,
You argue that the claim that 2 goes 2 far is "utter bull crap."

Have you read the proposal? It prohibits any law that restricts, discourages, create disincentives for anyone involved in stem cell research. Isn't it going too far to enthrone a new industry with a constitutional amendment which prevents any state oversight just so researchers in Michigan can kill human embryos here instead of just importing embryonic stem cell lines?

In my mind, if we are to put the value of human life onto these embryos, then shouldn’t our laws reflect that?
Maybe they should. Would you favor laws that prevent IVF human embryos from being discarded? Wouldn't it be preferable to protect human embryos instead of treating them like research materials?