Thursday, November 8, 2007

Jack Lessenberry giving false information on stem cells to his listeners

Jack Lessenberry, a newspaper columnist and journalist who has a radio program on Michigan Radio, recently used his radio program to attack Right to Life of Michigan and Michigan's laws which prevent human cloning and the killing of human embryos for research.

In his essay, which he read on the radio, Lessenberry makes a number of false claims, including numerous false claims about Michigan's laws. He writes, "we can't do (embryonic stem cell research) at all in Michigan," "we have outlawed it totally," and wonders what could happen if "the University of Michigan's medical school were free to work on stem cell research."

Below is the text of a message I left on Lessenberry's blog pointing him to numerous web pages which clearly show that embryonic stem cell research is not illegal in Michigan and has been going on for a number of years.
The University of Michigan is "free to work on stem cell research."

Researchers at the University of Michigan are working on human embryonic stem cells right now and have been doing so for a number of years. They even received a 3-year federal grant for more than $2 million dollars (around $750,000 a year for 3 years) for this research in 2003.

The University of Michigan has a policy statement on which human embryonic stem cells they use.

The University also has a question and answer on embryonic stem cell research which notes:

"What kinds of human embryonic stem cells can be used in U-M research?

U-M research studies funded by the National Institutes of Health or other federal funding agencies are restricted to existing stem cell lines, created before August 9, 2001, and listed on the NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry. Privately funded U-M research studies can be conducted with new cell lines not listed in the NIH registry, as long as they meet the conditions outlined in the university's official policy statement..."

The University of Michigan even has a Michigan Center for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research.

So it seems that the University of Michigan is "free to work on stem cell research" and has been doing so for quite some time. What they're preventing from doing is killing human embryos for research or attempting to create cloned human embryos through somatic cell nuclear transfer. Why does Jack Lessenberry act like Michigan law prevents researchers from using embryonic stem cells when it is clear as can be that they do use embryonic stem cells?

Unfortunately, numerous journalists in Michigan have failed to properly research what is legal and illegal in Michigan and have too often been misled by proponents of cloning and killing human embryos.