Saturday, October 25, 2008

Proposal 2 is Bad News - Vote NO

A lot of hype and claims are being made about Proposal 2. I was leaning against when I saw the ballot language, and I'm staunchly against this now after I real the actual language. You'll find a lot of sites and reasons, scientific and otherwise attacking this proposal, but I'm going to stick with something I'm more familiar with. Language.

Here is the ballot summary language of Proposal 2. Unedited and verbatum. This is what you see on the ballot.

Proposal 2:

A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO ADDRESS HUMAN EMBRYO AND HUMAN EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH IN MICHIGAN

The proposed constitutional amendment would
- Expand use of human embryos for any research permitted under federal law subject to the following limits: the embryos -
* are created for fertillity treatment purposes;
* are not suitable for impantation or are in excess of climical needs;
* would be discarded unless used for research;
* were donated by the person seeking fertillity treatment.

- Provide that stem cells cannot be taken from human embryos more than 14 days after cell division begins.

- Prohibit any person from selling or purchasing human embryos for stem cell research.

- Prohibit state and local laws that prevent, restrict, or discourage stem cell research, future therapies, and cures.

Should this proposal be adopted?

Yes___

No____


See anything wrong with how this is written? I'll have to look up more precedents, but I have several concerns. I'll break down this, line by line. I assume attorneys wrote this, and every word there is for a reason.

A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO ADDRESS HUMAN EMBRYO AND HUMAN EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH IN MICHIGAN


First off, this is a Constitutional Amendment. That is the Supreme Law of Michigan, second only to the US Supreme Court. Secondly, it mentioned not just "stem cell" research, but Human Embryo research itself.

- Expand use of human embryos for any research permitted under federal law subject to the following limits: the embryos -


ANY research. Federal law prohibits federal tax dollars going to embryonic stem cell research. That's it. Think of all the possibilities that can be used with embryo research. Cloning. Humam animal hybrids. etc.

- Prohibit any person from selling or purchasing human embryos for stem cell research.


Why is only stem cell research mentioned here? Look at the words. Everything is added for a reason. This does not address for research besides embryonic stem cell research.

- Prohibit state and local laws that prevent, restrict, or discourage stem cell research, future therapies, and cures.


Notice again how this is written. This is the worst line of the whole proposal, despite my otherwise libertarian leaning views. What does "discourage" mean? Blocking of tax money? I have no idea. Attorneys I know who I asked about this have no idea. I'm not sure if even a Georgetown grad could figure out the meaning of "discourage." Restrict is a rather broad word as well. The second part is written so it looks like it refers only to stem cell research. No, that's just one portion. "Future therapies." What is that? That can be anything. Cloning for cures? Therapies?

The actual law is posted at MICAUSE, which is leading the fight against this.

Petition Language:
INITIATIVE PETITION
AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION
A Proposal to Amend the Constitution of the State of Michigan by adding a new Article I, Section 27 as follows:

Article I, Section 27. (1) Nothing in this section shall alter Michigan’s current prohibition on human cloning.

(2) To ensure that Michigan citizens have access to stem cell therapies and cures, and to ensure that physicians and researchers can conduct the most promising forms of medical research in this state, and that all such research is conducted safely and ethically, any research permitted under federal law on human embryos may be conducted in Michigan, subject to the requirements of federal law and only the following additional limitations and requirements:

(a) No stem cells may be taken from a human embryo more than fourteen days after cell division begins; provided, however, that time during which an embryo is frozen does not count against this fourteen day limit.


(b) The human embryos were created for the purpose of fertility treatment and, with voluntary and informed consent, documented in writing, the person seeking fertility treatment chose to donate the embryos for research; and

(i) the embryos were in excess of the clinical need of the person seeking the fertility treatment and would otherwise be discarded unless they are used for research; or


(ii) the embryos were not suitable for implantation and would otherwise be discarded unless they are used for research

(c) No person may, for valuable consideration, purchase or sell human embryos for stem cell research or stem cell therapies and cures.


(d) All stem cell research and all stem cell therapies and cures must be conducted and provided in accordance with state and local laws of general applicability, including but not limited to laws concerning scientific and medical practices and patient safety and privacy, to the extent that any such laws do not:

(i) prevent, restrict, obstruct, or discourage any stem cell research or stem cell therapies and cures that are permitted by the provisions of this section; or


(ii) create disincentives for any person to engage in or otherwise associate with such research or therapies or cures.

(3) Any provision of this section held unconstitutional shall be severable from the remaining portions or this section.

Going over this:

(1) Nothing in this section shall alter Michigan’s current prohibition on human cloning.


What is human cloning?
(a) “Human cloning” means the use of human somatic cell nuclear transfer technology to produce a human embryo.

The prohibition is only limited to this:
(1) An individual shall not intentionally engage in or attempt to engage in human cloning.

(2) Subsection (1) does not prohibit scientific research or cell-based therapies not specifically prohibited by that subsection.

(3) An individual who violates subsection (1) is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $10,000,000.00, or both.

(4) As used in this section, “human cloning” means that term as defined in section 16274 of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.16274.


Hybrids? That's being pushed in parts of England.

Combine with this:
any research permitted under federal law on human embryos may be conducted in Michigan


and then this.

(d) All stem cell research and all stem cell therapies and cures must be conducted and provided in accordance with state and local laws of general applicability, including but not limited to laws concerning scientific and medical practices and patient safety and privacy, to the extent that any such laws do not:

(i) prevent, restrict, obstruct, or discourage any stem cell research or stem cell therapies and cures that are permitted by the provisions of this section; or


(ii) create disincentives for any person to engage in or otherwise associate with such research or therapies or cures.


Those words. "discourage, restrict"

This is a poorly written proposal and a poorly written amendment for the constitution unless you want blanket immunity for God knows what. MICAUSE is right. 2 goes 2 far. That's an understatement. I'm voting Hell No on proposal 2.

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