Thursday, January 6, 2005
As you may have heard, 59% of Californians rejected the Bush Administration's stance on the government's role in stem cell research by passing Proposition 71 last fall. The proposition created a state-funded agency which will make research grants of $3 billion over the next 10 years to institutions and universities conducting stem cell research, making California the only state, thus far, to shrug off the ethical and religious questions that caused the Bush Administration to back off of federally-funded research which involved the destruction of human embryos, including research utilizing stem cells.
However, just as stem cell advocates in that state seem to have hurdled the last obstacle in their path, other, more mundane political bumps in the road have emerged. It seems that the committee formed by Governor Schwarzeneggar that will be deciding where the grants will be going is not conducting itself in a suitably transparent manner. This becomes particularly disturbing in light of the fact that the steering committee members come from the same research and biotechnology institutions that sunk $28 million into the campaign to get Prop-71 passed in the first place, institutions which are likely to be the recipients of future grants. Anyhow, one good grass roots campaign in California deserves another.