Monday, April 28, 2008

Signers Beware!

The following letter was submitted to the Grand Rapids Press after I was asked to sign a "stem cell" petition.
Recently, as I was taking a walk to my local library, I was approached by two women who asked if I was a registered voter and if I would sign their petition. “Petition for what?,” I asked. “Stem cell research,” they responded. When I asked “what kind of stem cell research?,” they pointed me to a specific talking point on a purple sheet underneath their petitions which discussed the theoretical promise of embryonic stem cell research and all the diseases it would supposedly cure. I was then pointed to a copy of a Grand Rapids Press article on Kadi DeHaan, a young woman who suffered a spinal cord injury, and told embryonic stem cells were used to treat her.

I’m familiar with Kadi’s story and I knew her improvement was due to strenuous physical therapy along with trips to Russia for injections of her own adult stem cells, not embryonic. Embryonic stem cells have never successfully been used to treat any human patient.

Besides falsely attributing Kadi’s success to embryonic stem cells, the paid signature gatherers (they told me they’re getting $1 a signature) never mentioned the petition would legalize the killing of human embryos for research purposes.

Voters who oppose killing the most defenseless of human beings should be careful when approached to sign a “stem cell” petition. Some paid circulators are trained to say whatever it takes to get you to sign, regardless of whether what they’re saying is true or not.