Wall Street Journal Examines Stem Cell Research Ballot Initiative
Through the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, which will appear on the statewide November ballot, embryonic stem cell research advocates for the first time are "bypassing government officials" and asking voters to approve public funding for the "controversial, cutting-edge" research, the Wall Street Journal reports. The initiative, which "represents a major new intersection of science and politics," would give universities and biotechnology companies as much as $295 million each year for 10 years for stem cell research through funds raised through the sale of state bonds. If the initiative is successful, it could "change the U.S. scientific landscape and send a message" that the Bush administration "faces significant dissent" over its decision to limit federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, the Journal reports. In addition, it could position California as a "mecca" for scientists interested in embryonic stem cell research, according to the Journal. However, if the initiative fails to gain voter support, it would represent a "setback" for efforts to change the federal policy and could "embolden" opponents of the research, the Journal reports. The initiative also "highlights the growing influence" of patient and disease advocates, in this case diabetes advocates, the Journal reports (Regalado/Waldholz, Wall Street Journal, 3/31).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.