Monday, December 29, 2008

Mark Burton can’t stop lying about Proposal 2, even after it passes.

The Detroit Free Press featured this editorial by Mark Burton on December 18 and I’ve been meaning to respond for a while but have been slacking on blogging during the Christmas season.

Most of these editorial puff pieces describing all the awesome or horrible things ballot proposals will supposedly do usually occur before election but in this editorial Mark Burton describes what Proposal 2 will supposedly accomplish more than a month after Michigan voters voted in favor of it.

Burton unfortunately can’t get out of spin mode and makes a number of claims which are demonstratably false. It’s almost like proponents of killing human embryos for research in Michigan have been misleading the public for so long (with the help of papers like the Free Press) they don’t know how to be honest with them even after their proposal passed. Burton writes,
Proposal 2 was about restoring hope for millions of patients, their friends, and families facing debilitating disease. It unshackles Michigan’s talented researchers and physicians, and permits them to finally join the race for cures by utilizing the most promising medical advancement of the 21st Century: embryonic stem cell research.

Finally, Michigan researchers get to do something they’ve been doing since 2002.

Has the 21st century really produced so few medical advancement that cells which have yet to treat or cure anyone and haven’t been approved for a single clinical trials are the “most promising medical advancement?”
President-Elect Barack Obama, in a marked difference from President Bush, campaigned for, and strongly supports, freeing up hundreds of millions of federal dollars for embryonic stem cell research.
Umm.... except for the fact that the federal government's National Institutes of Health has spent about $40 million a year on human embryonic stem cell research for the last number of years. Obama will more than likely support allowing the NIH to fund human embryonic stem cell research on cell lines created after 2001 but I doubt they’ll be spending hundreds of millions on that small sliver of the pluripotent stem cell research pie.
Because of Proposal 2, Michigan’s great institutions can now compete for those funds, which will accelerate the pursuit for cures and treatments to afflictions such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, juvenile diabetes, sickle cell anemia and spinal cord injuries.
Except that Michigan researchers have already been competing for federal human embryonic stem cell funding. They even received a sizeable, multi-year federal grant in 2003.

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