As a result of the passage of Proposal 2 last November, human embryos stored in fertility clinics now qualify as research material and are up for grabs to research laboratories. Most human embryos remain protected from research, with the exception of those produced in "excess" of their parents' childbearing desires and can be designated for stem cell research.
While the election concerning the "leftover embryo" is over, many questions remain. Who decides which university or private research entity will be awarded the highly sought-after embryos? How many are there? What happens when the supply is depleted? Will additional "research subjects," whether human or human-animal hybrid, be manufactured to satisfy the demand? If steps are taken outside the provisions of Proposal 2, what are the penalties?
Transparency and accountability are a must when it comes to this emerging scientific field. The purpose of this legislation is not to impose government regulation but to add transparency. For the first time in Michigan history, a population of human beings will be classified as "research material" and destroyed for their parts.
Without setting these policies in place, we face just the beginning of a field wide open to trafficking human clones into the state, mixing interspecies DNA through creating human-animal hybrids and other potential unspeakable acts of human experimentation.