Green stem cell plan: 2 thumbs down
The editorial pages of the state's two largest-circulation newspapers are usually on opposite sides politically. But both agree that Congressman Mark Green's transparently political stem cell proposal is a bad idea.
The conservative Wisconsin State Journal says, Don't waste green on Green's scheme:
Green wants to pour $25 million of state money into risky, unnecessary research that could actually slow efforts to boost medical understanding and treatments.And the liberal (remember, we're talking editorial pages) Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says:
Green cannot escape the fact that he is on the wrong side of the embryonic stem cell debate. And in the heat of this election year, he's looking for a way to embrace the popular and promising science without offending an increasingly narrow slice of active and outspoken, socially- conservative supporters.
Editorial: Green's near-empty proposal
... Green's proposal to use $25 million in state money to finance research to look for procedures in which embryos will not be destroyed appears overly optimistic and possibly unrealistic. Green is basing his plan on the announcement by scientists at a California company that they extracted cells from embryos using a technique sometimes employed in genetic screening. But the excitement over that announcement has since been muted because all the embryos were destroyed in the process of the research and the scientists simply extrapolated their findings.
But as stem cell researchers and others point out, the techniques cited by the California company as yet are far from viable and thus require far more work and time. In the meantime, the embryonic stem cell research already taking place at UW and other labs around the country is at a distinct disadvantage because of limits imposed by Bush in 2001 blocking federal funding for new embryonic stem cell lines.
Green has disappointingly voted in favor of continuing those restrictions. What's more, one of the congressman's campaign aides said this week that, despite Green's new plan, he still opposes the use of any new taxpayer money for research in which embryos are destroyed. That condition applies, the aide said, even to research looking for ways to save the embryos. Considering the experience in California, that may prove to be a tough hurdle for researchers to overcome, at least initially.
Thanks in part to Green, scientists already have a big enough hurdle to clear - the ban on new federal funding...