California Bishops Oppose Prop 14's Use of State Bonds to Pay for Embryonic Stem Cell Research


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Cures and Financial Returns Never
Materialized Despite $3 Billion of Taxpayer Funding

The California Catholic Conference of Bishops is opposed to Proposition 14 on the November 2020 ballot.  The measure asks California taxpayers to provide an additional $5.5 billion dollars for the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) so it can continue funding research using human embryos.

The Church “appreciates and encourages the progress of the biomedical sciences which open up unprecedented therapeutic prospects” said Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI but it also respects and values every human life. 

“Advancements in biological and medical science have and will continue to alleviate suffering but doing so at the expense of another human life is an affront to the dignity of the person,” said Bishop Robert McElroy, Bishop of San Diego and President of the California Catholic Conference of Bishops. 

Voters approved CIRM funding in 2004 after a political campaign promising cures for many diseases and generous reimbursements from patents based on CIRM-sponsored research.  Needless to say, neither of those promises has even been remotely fulfilled despite $3 billion of funding from California taxpayers over the intervening 16 years.

A laudable goal, such as treatments and cures for diseases and debilitative conditions, can never be justified through the taking of innocent human life especially when alternatives are available.  Research using other cell types, such as those derived from adult stem cells, is not only acceptable from a moral and ethical point of view but is already resulting in effective treatments for dozen of conditions ranging from brain and breast cancer to juvenile diabetes to Parkinson’s disease to strokes.

The California bishops oppose Proposition 14 on clear moral and ethical grounds as well as the imprudent financial obligations for a state government facing unprecedented challenges.  Obligating California voters to more debt as we face the pandemic and historic fires while still dealing with the ongoing challenges of homelessness and poverty is imprudent and unwise.

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