Former U.S. Ambassador to Vatican Discusses Schwarzenegger’s Support for Measure To Fund Stem Cell Research
Raymond Flynn, former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican and Boston mayor, on Wednesday wrote a letter to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) asking him to "reconsider why you are Catholic and consider correcting your stance on authorizing tax-exempt, general obligation bonds to fund embryonic stem cell research," the Boston Herald reports (Guarino, Boston Herald, 10/21).
The letter comes after Schwarzenegger on Monday announced his support for Proposition 71, a measure on the Nov. 2 statewide ballot to fund stem cell research. The measure would issue state bonds to raise an average of $295 million annually over a decade to promote research and provide funds for a new stem cell research center at a University of California campus, as well as grants and loans for laboratory projects at other colleges. State analysts say the measure could cost a total of $6 billion including interest (California Healthline, 10/20).
Flynn -- president of the Liberty, Family & Life Center -- wrote to Schwarzenegger that "after reading your stance on stem cell research, I seriously question whether you understand the teachings of our Catholic faith on the importance of promoting a culture of life in our country." He added, "People can't act independently of the values of the faith they say they belong to."
The governor's office on Wednesday said the letter had not been received and declined to respond to Flynn, the Herald reports (Boston Herald, 10/21).
Summaries of two recent editorials and an opinion piece addressing Proposition 71 appear below.
Oregonian: Proposition 71 is "a huge gamble," but if approved, California "could position itself as a global leader" in stem cell research, according to an Oregonian editorial. However, "given all the unknowns, the best avenue for fostering [stem cell research] is the federal government," the Oregonian continues. If Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) is elected, "the nation's investment in stem cell research would soar, and [NIH] would assume its rightful position of leadership," the Oregonian states(Oregonian, 10/20).
- Daniel Callahan, San Diego Union-Tribune: Proposition 71 asks California residents "to place a multibillion-dollar bet on a still wholly speculative line of scientific exploration," Callahan -- a director of the International Program at the Hastings Center in New York and a senior lecturer at Harvard Medical School -- writes in a Union-Tribune opinion piece. "Whether anything comes of this research, it is sure to line the pockets of many scientists and biotechnology companies in the process," Callahan writes. He adds that Proposition 71 is a "very bad use of public money" and that the campaign in favor of the measure is "meant to capture the public's emotions rather than their minds" (Callahan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/22).
- Santa Rosa Press Democrat: The "issue lost" in the debate over Proposition 71 is that "Californians are not stepping up to pay" for stem cell research but instead "are sending the bill (with interest) to their children and grandchildren -- and without regard to the damage to schools and other public programs," a Press Democrat editorial states. According to the editorial, the "problem with ballot measures" is "they are reduced to simplistic choices that -- years later -- become unhappy and unintended consequences." The Press Democrat recommends that state residents vote "no" on Proposition 71 (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 10/20).
NPR's "Day to Day" on Thursday reported on the debate over Proposition 71. The segment includes comments from Michael J. Fox, actor and stem cell research advocate; Debra Greenfield, attorney and member of the Bioethics Committee at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center; Fiona Hutton, spokesperson for Yes on Proposition 71; Michael Kinsley, editor of the Los Angeles Times editorial page; and Ron Reagan, son of former President Ronald Reagan (Bates, "Day to Day," NPR, 10/21). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
Additional information on Proposition 71 is available online.