Attached please find an editorial from today's Detroit News by Alfred Taubman claiming that Michigan's law prohibiting destructive research on human embryos is holding back advances on stem cell research and Michigan's biotechnology sector. Here are several important points – and omissions – to note:
- The caption written by the News under the researcher's photograph claims U-M "can use adult and umbilical chord [sic] stem cells in research in Michigan, but not ones from embryos." This is false. Research on stem cells taken from embryos is legal and is being done in Michigan with federal tax dollars.
- Taubman is either confused or making an important omission when he refers to "critical work" being done in California that in Michigan would net scientists a 10 year prison sentence or $10 million dollar fine. Destroying "leftover" human embryos for research purposes does not carry that penalty. Cloning human embryos does carry the 10/10 penalty. Are U-M researchers directing cloning in California?
- Taubman and embryonic stem cell advocates never mention that to create genetically matched embryonic stem cell treatments for millions of patients, millions of cloned embryos will have to be created and destroyed.
- The real reason researchers want to be able to destroy embryos themselves to create stem cell lines is to preserve lucrative patent rights. They won't say it, but it comes down to money.
- Mr. Taubman urges the entire state to "have the discussion" about stem cell research. Agreed! Let's have the WHOLE discussion, starting with who wants to clone and kill human embryos and who says cures can and are being found without such unethical research.