Archived campaign webpage
The Center for Genetics and Society opposed Proposition 71,
the "California Stem Cell Research Initiative" on
the November 2 ballot. It grants control over a huge allocation
of public funds for controversial research to a particular set
of interested parties insulated from public accountability.
While we believe that appropriately regulated embryonic stem
cell research should be supported, a close analysis of Proposition
71 raises an array of concerns.
authorizes $3 billion in tax-supported
bonds to fund stem cell research, explicitly including the use
of somatic cell nuclear transfer (cloning) techniques;
amends the state constitution
to establish a "California Institute for Regenerative Medicine"
to administer these funds;
amends the state constitution
to include a "right to conduct stem cell research."
Contents and links
of the Center's concerns
assessment of the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act
for Genetics and Society news releases
progressive and liberal voices and concerns
information on Proposition 71 from the Secretary of State and
Legislative Analyst's Office
editorials and organizational positions
on the technologies
Summary of the Center's
1. Proposition 71 amends the California state constitution
to include a "right to conduct stem cell research"
- a sort of "right" which is very different from the
kinds of fundamental public protections that state constitutions
are meant to provide.
2. Proposition 71 vests control of the $3 billion of public
funds in a new "Institute for Regenerative Medicine"
controlled by a governing body dominated by people who are part
of or close to the institutions and companies that will benefit
from the funds.
3. Although embryonic stem cell research is one of many types
of biomedical research worthy of public funding, it is difficult
to justify a state committing $300 million a year for ten years
to this single area of research, with no ability to reevaluate
if the research results are not as promising as scientists now
4. Proposition 71 specifies that the Institute it establishes
sets its own rules, thus exempting it from oversight by elected
officials and from a body of state and federal regulations,
including those that address informed consent and protection
of research subjects.
5. Proposition 71 endorses and prioritizes somatic cell nuclear
transfer, or research cloning, but provides no meaningful oversight
and control of this work.
6. Proposition 71's appeal is based in large part on its promise
of likely treatments and cures for a wide range of diseases.
This prospect has generated great hope, but is difficult to
evaluate because the research is at a very early stage.
Center for Genetics and
Society news releases
conference: Pro-choice opposition to Proposition 71(October
Concerns About Calif. Stem Cell Initiative Grow (October
5 , 2004)
California Stem Cell Initiative (September
on Proposition 71 from the Secretary of State and Legislative
pamphlet (includes title and summary, legislative analysis,
and arguments and rebuttals) [PDF]
of Proposed Law [PDF]
Overview of State Bond Debt Prepared by the Legislative
Analyst's Office (July 2004)
Pro-Choice Alliance Against
"California Nurses' Association
Opposes Prop. 71"
Doctors, Patients and Taxpayers
for Fiscal Responsibility
Californians for Stem Cell
Research and Cures
Opinion and commentary
- Peter Schrag , "Tuesday's initiatives: Another shackle
on government", Sacramento Bee (November 1, 2004)
- Andro Hsu, "A Biologist’s Dilemma," The
Daily Californian (October 27, 2004)
- Mitch Kapor, "For stem cell research, against Proposition
71" (October 25, 2004)
- Winnie Comstock-Carlson, "Stem Cell Cures versus Taxpayer-Funded
Biotech Windfall," Comstock's Business (November
- Daniel Sarewitz, "Stepping Out of Line in Stem Cell
Research," Los Angeles Times (October 25, 2004)
- Dan Gillmor, "Some thoughts on California's propositions,"
San Jose Mercury News (October 24, 2004)
- Daniel Callahan, "Proposition 71: Combining hope, hype
and hucksterism," San Diego Union Tribune (October
- Ellen Goodman, "Weird Science: California stem cell
proposition is risky end run on flawed Bush compromise,"
Wahington Post Writers Group (October 22, 2004)
- N. Davis, "The Problems With Prop 71," AlwaysOn
Network (October 20, 2004)
- David Winickoff, "Prop. 71 a risky experiment in squandering
public monies," San Francisco Chronicle (October
- Dan Walters, "Narrow-interest bond, tax measures have
a very long history," Sacramento Bee (October
- Michael Cook, "No doubting Reeve's courage, but question
his convictions," The Age (October 14, 2004)
- Scott Herhold, "Proposition 71 wrong way to pay for
stem cell research," San Jose Mercury News (October
- Richard Sams, "Prop. 71 would fund wrong research,"
North County Times (October 6, 2004)
- Peter Schrag, "Coming on Nov. 2 ballot: A lot more
of the same," Sacramento Bee (September 29, 2004)
- Robert B. Lawton, "Prop. 71 poses big questions,"
San Jose Mercury News (September 29, 2004)
- Marcy Darnovsky and Bill McKibben, "Will Our Children
Be Genetically Modified?" forum (September 28, 2004,
as broadcast on Sunday Salon, KPFA, October 17) [MP3
- Jim Trageser, "Stem cell initiative financiers meet
little scrutiny," North County TImes (September
- Peter Schrag, "Stem cells, slick sells and other political
soft soap," Sacramento Bee (September 1, 2004)
- Tina Stevens, "What we should know (and almost didn't),"
San Francisco Chronicle (August 29, 2004)
- Michael Hiltzik, "Benefits of Stem Cell Bond Issue
in Question," Los Angeles Times (August 23, 2004)
>> Items >> "Benefits of Stem Cell Bond Issue
- William Saletan, "Revelation of the Nerds: The religion
of stem-cell research," Slate (August 10, 2004)
- Nigel M. de S. Cameron and Jennifer Lahl, "Legislating
Medicine: California's bizarre cloning proposition,"
San Francisco Chronicle (July 11, 2004)
- David S. Broder, "A Bipartisan Push on Stem Cell Studies,"
The Washington Post (June 3, 2004)
and organizational positions
- "Opinion of The Tribune: No on 71," San Luis
Obispo Tribune (October 22, 2004)
- "Vote no Prop. 71," Los Angeles Daily News
(October 20, 2004)
- "Stem Cell Envy," The Oregonian (October
- "Yes 61; no 71," Riverside Press-Enterprise
(October 19, 2004)
- "State should not be in bio research," Tulare
Advance-Register (October 19, 2004)
- "Ballot box budgeting? Yes & no (No on 71),"
Sonoma Index Tribune (October 15, 2004)
- "CRG Position on California's Stem Cell Research Initiative
(Proposition 71)," Council for Responsible Genetics (October
- "Endorsements: No on Proposition 71," San Francisco
Bay Guardian (October 13, 2004)
- "Fund research another way," Pasadena Star
News and San Gabriel Valley Tribune (October 13,
- "State cannot afford stem cell bond issue," Redding
Record Searchlight (October 11, 2004)
- "Proposition 71:Huge bond not the way to fund stem-cell
research," San Bernardino Sun (October 10, 2004)
- California Nurses Association, "California Nurses Association
Opposes Prop. 71" (October 5, 2004)
- "Bond to fund stem cell research a bad idea,"
Orange County Register (October 4, 2004)
- "No on Prop. 71," Fresno Bee and Modesto
Bee (September 30, 2004)
- "Our View: Stem cells merit research, but not Prop.
71," North County Times (September 29, 2004)
- Troy May, "BayBio adopts neutral stance on stem cell
bond initiative," Silicon Valley/San Jose Business
Journal (September 27, 2004)
- "No on Props. 61, 71," San Diego Union Tribune
(September 23, 2004)
- "Editorial: No on Proposition 71—Fund stem cell
research, but by normal process," Sacramento Bee
(September 22, 2004)
- "Prop. 71 will shut out other priorities, " Merced
Sun-Star (September 18, 2004)
- "No on 71: How ballot-box budgeting is bankrupting
California," Santa Rosa Press Democrat (September
- Kristen Philipkoski, "Show Time for Stem-Cell Science,"
Wired (November 10, 2004)
- Lisa M. Krieger, "Experts discuss Prop. 71 ethics,"
San Jose Mercury News (November 10, 2004)
- Denise Gellene, "Stem Cell Firms Bet on Big Payoff,"
Los Angeles Times (November 7, 2004)
- Carl T. Hall, "Medical dean put on stem cell panel,
San Francisco Chronicle (November 6, 2004)
- Mike Schwartz, "The Rush to Research," The
Press Enterprise (November 6, 2004)
- Tim Simmers, "Accountability part of stem-cell mix,"
Oakland Tribune (November 4, 2004)
- Megan Garvey, "State Bets on the Promise of Stem Cell
Research," Los Angeles Times (November 4, 2004)
- Elizabeth Weise and Dan Vergano, "Californians support
stem cell research measure," USA Today (November
- Mary F. Albert, "Stem cell measure gets nod,"
San Francisco Examiner (November 4, 2004)
- Laura Mecoy , "Stem cell research now on fast track,"
Sacramento Bee (November 4, 2004)
- Deena Beasley and Leonard Anderson, "Calif. stem cell
victory draws praise, concern," Reuters (November 4,
- Terri Somers, "California to soon take the lead in
stem cell research," San Diego Union Tribune (November
- Jonathan Knight, "California says 'yes' to stem-cell
research," Nature (November 3, 2004)
- Carl T. Hall, "State voters strongly backing cell research,"
San Francisco Chronicle (November 3, 2004)
- Lisa M. Krieger, "Stem-cell measure heads for victory
by wide margin," San Jose Mercury News (November
- Randy Myers, "Prop. 71 Stem cell research," Contra
Costa Times (November 3, 2004)
- Deborah Finestone , "Stem-Cell Researchers Suffer on
Bush Re-Election," Dow Jones Newswires(November
- Rebecca Vesely, "State health props may set national
trend", San Mateo Country Times (October 31, 2004)
- Terri Somers, "Groups that support stem cell research
oppose Proposition 71," San Diego Union Tribune
(October 29, 2004)
- Rebecca Vesely, "California's Prop 71 Divides Debate
on Stem Cells", Women's e-News (October 26, 2004)
- Stephen Baxter, "Stem cell plan foes battle on,"
San Mateo Daily Journal (October 26, 2004)
- Paul Elias, "Prop. 71 boosts biotech shares,"
Associated Press (October 26, 2004)
- Tim Simmers, "Biotech boost?: Stem cell measure could
lift state biotech industry," Oakland Tribune
(October 24, 2004)
- Sean McCourt, "California Voters to Decide on Stem
Cell Proposition," SFSU Xpress (October 21, 2004)
- Mark Sappenfield, "California: new leader in stem cells?,
" Christian Science Monitor (October 20, 2004)
- Laura Mecoy , "Rivals charge Prop. 71 conflict,"
Sacramento Bee (October 20, 2004)
- Lisa M. Krieger, "Stem cell measure brings foes together,"
San Jose Mercury News (October 20, 2004)
- "Schwarzenegger backs stem cell plan," Associated
Press (October 19, 2004)
- Laura Mecoy , "Foes: Profit drives stem cell measure,"
Sacramento Bee (October 16, 2004)
- Clea Benson, "Nurses group opposes stem-cell plan,"
Sacramento Bee (October 15, 2004)
- Terri Somers, "Stem cell studies could escalate if
investors see profit motive," San Diego Union Tribune
(October 15, 2004)
- Carl Hall, Financing, not ethics, causing some to take closer
looks," San Francisco Chronicle (October 15, 2004)
- Rachel Gordon, "Brown to hold forum on stem-cell research,"
San Francisco Chronicle (October 12, 2004)
- Stephen Baxter, "Stem cell proposition awash with money,"
San Mateo Daily Journal (October 11, 2004)
- "Stem cell bond issue has narrow lead in poll,"
Associated Press (October 11, 2004)
- Keri Brenner, "Scientists split over stem cell measure,"
Marin Independent Journal (October 10, 2004)
- Terri Somers, "Prop. 71 opens tap for stem-cell studies,"
San Diego Union Tribune (October 10, 2004)
- Justin Jouvenal, "Biotechs question Prop. 71,"
San Mateo County Times (October 9, 2004)
- Randy Myers, "Religion, health concerns come to odds
on Prop. 71," Contra Costa Times (October 8, 2004)
- Michael Krasny, Marcy Darnovsky, and Deborah Ortiz, "Proposition
71," KQED Forum (October 7, 2004) [Real Audio]
- Lisa M. Krieger, "Stem cell measure no panacea,"
San Jose Mercury News (October 4, 2004)
- "San Mateo County Medical Association Withdraws Its
Support of Prop 71," Press Release (October 4, 2004)
- Deena Beasley and Leonard Anderson, "Economic Impact
of Calif. Stem Cell Plan Debated," Reuters (October 3,
- Kimm Groshong, "Stem-cell research stirs emotions,"
San Gabriel Valley Tribune (September 30, 2004)
- Tali Woodward, "Cell divide," San Francisco
Bay Guardian (September 29, 2004)
- Laura Mecoy, "AdWatch: TV ad enlists Nobel winner to
tout Prop. 71," Sacramento Bee (September 29,
- John Broder and Andrew Pollack, "Californians to Vote
on Stem Cell Research Funds," New York Times (September
- Jonathan Knight, "Critics slate ethical leeway in California
stem-cell proposal," Nature (September 16, 2004)
- Vincent Schodolski, "Proponents of initiative to fund
stem cell research pull in big money," Chicago Tribune
(September 13, 2004)
- Gretchen Vogel, "California Debates Whether to Become
Stem Cell Heavyweight," Science (September 10,
- Margaret Talev, "A sit-down with the governor: He holds
forth on driver's licenses for immigrants, stem cell research
bonds," Sacramento Bee (August 11, 2004)
- Susan L. Thomas, "Money, hopes ride on Prop. 71 victory,"
East Bay Business Times (August 6, 2004)
- "Governor In Tight Political Spot On Stem Cell Research:
Schwarzenegger Not Expected To Take Position On Proposition
71," Associated Press (August 5, 2004)
- Anne Applebaum, "Stem Cell Stumping," Washington
Post (August 4, 2004)
- Vincent Schodolski, "The latest frontier in stem cell
debate," Chicago Tribune (August 1, 2004)
- Paul Elias, "EBay founder's donation backs stem cell
research," AP (July 16, 2004)
- Robert Mullins, "Scientists in region want to take
lead on stem cell," San Diego Union Tribune (July
- "Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Endorses California
Stem Cell Ballot Initiative," Kaiser Daily Reproductive
Health Report (June 21, 2004)
- Rick Weiss, "Stem Cells An Unlikely Therapy for Alzheimer's:
Reagan-Inspired Zeal For Study Continues," Washington
Post (June 10, 2004)
- Amy Fagan, "Stem-cell funding on California ballot,"
The Washsington Times (June 5, 2004)
- Carl T. Hall, "Long road ahead for stem cell initiative:
Proposal to finance research qualifies for state ballot,"
San Francisco Chronicle (June 4, 2004)
- Paul Elias, "Venture capital money backs California
stem cell measure," Associated Press (May 21, 2004)
- Dan Vergano, "States dive into stem cell debates,"
USA Today (April 20, 2004)
- Carl T. Hall, "Stem-cell Research's Creative Financing:
Federal Strictures Prompt Push for Private, State Funds,"
San Francisco Chronicle (March 15, 2004)
Several of the researchers who have played key roles in crafting
the California initiative are profiled in:
Neil Munro, "Academics'
Ties to Business Muddy Disclosure Decisions," The Scientist
(April 21, 2003)
Neil Munro, "Doctor
Who? Scientists are treated as objective arbiters in the cloning
debate. But most have serious skin in the game," Washington
Monthly (November 2002)