Saturday, February 24, 2007

Stem Cell Bill Too Controversial

Two instances in one week where citizen pressure made a difference in public policy formation! First the McHenry County Republican Cat Tax and now a stem-cell research vote.


(Sorry for the college verbiage, but I have taught state and local government at Rockford and Harper Colleges in years past and sometimes lapse into "classroom speak.")

If you even wonder whether McHenry County’s Republican State Senator Pam Althoff will listen to her constituents, take a look at what is under the Senator’s picture on the front page of today’s Northwest Herald.

It says, “Program is too controversial.”

The fight against the bill, which would legitimize the illegitimate Executive Order of Governor Rod Blagojevich to spend $10 million on stem cell research, including on human embryos, was hotly opposed by pro-life groups.

McHenry County’s Right-to-Life lady, Irene Napier, was sending out emails encouraging people to contact Senator Althoff.

Apparently enough did to convince Senator Althoff not to offend a large proportion of her Republican primary voters.

Althoff is up for re-election next year.

Althoff told the NW Herald reporter Brenda Schory that she opposed the bill for two reasons:

* it would cost money the state did not have and
* the state should not be spending money on a program that so many of her constituents oppose

Althoff told the NW Herald that she supported

Senate Bill 19 sponsored by State Sen. William Haine (conservative Democrat from the Metro East area), which would establish a statewide network of umbilical cord banks and supports umbilical cord stem-cell research.

“To date, there are absolutely no successful studies that have shown embryonic stem-cell research will cure or help any of the diseases frequently referenced—like juvenile diabetes or epilepsy,” Althoff said.
SB 4, the bill Althoff voted against, passed the senate 35-23, with 30 needed for passage.

There are more stories on McHenry County Blog this weekend, as usual.


Anonymous,  12:17 PM  

How far is $10 million going to get you in the world of stem cell research?

Well, if I were given the money, I'd immediately use it to hire a few lobbyists and PR firms to put out the message '$10 million is not enough for stem cell research, we need more. Much more.' Then I'd hire a few juiced people and put them in key positions, so when I needed something from Blago or Madigan, I'd have someone who could pick up a phone. I'd open an office in Chicago. And Springfield, because that is where the action is.

If I had time, I'd write a paper or two about stem cells, and put them out for review. Maybe I'd hire a researcher or two. Probably wouldn't get anyone above 'D' list, though, because the 'A' listers are probably working for better funded labs.

Election time is a busy time, I'd make campaign contributions to pols that were pro-stem cell research, and put out the word that candidates that weren't loyal to the stem cell cause want children to suffer.

That is all.

Bill Baar 4:12 PM  

Well, if I had it, I'd consider bringing a wrongful death suit in Cook County against the folks using the embryos for research,

In Illinois, the judge explained, a fetus qualifies as a deceased person for purposes of the Wrongful Death Act. Furthermore, said the judge, "a pre-embryo is a 'human being' ... whether or not it is implanted in its mother's womb." For this conclusion, the judge cited another Illinois law that specifically finds that an "unborn child is a human being from the time of conception and is, therefore, a legal person."

Milton 5:04 PM  

Bill that is very funy. The charge of homicde should go to George Bush who vetoed stem cell. G.O.P. Congressman Mark Kirk, a leading backer of the bill The lives that could be saved with stem cell reserch embryos, including use of adult stem cells and stem cells from umbilical-cord blood.

This is a debate between pro-science forces and the religious zealots

The Zealot have control now.

From 1995 on Terri Schiavo showed no cognitive activity. Therefore she should have been in care of Anna Smith.

Maybe drug addicts like Anna could have been cured by now. Or better AIDS. In Republican's case elbow.

Bill Baar 7:20 AM  

You don't have to be a religious zealot to see the awful the direction embroyonic-stem-cells industry is going.

Here are some Marxist Docs in the UK who got it right in the British Medical Journal.

One effect of late capitalism--the commodification of practically everything--is to knock down the Chinese walls between the natural and productive realms, to use a Marxist framework. Women's labour in egg extraction and 'surrogate' motherhood might then be seen as what it is, labour which produces something of value.
Even in the UK, although the new Medical Research Council guidelines make a good deal of the 'gift relationship', what they are actually about is commodification. If donors believe they are demonstrating altruism, but biotechnology firms and researchers use the discourse of commodity and profit, we have not 'incomplete commodification' but complete commodification with a plausibly human face.

It's about the commercialization and profit from Human Embryos (people in Cook County). That's a heck of a thing for progressives to support.

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