Taubman to Donate $22 Million for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

on October 18, 2008

A generous alumnus of the University of Michigan is set to fund more embryonic stem cell research. But will a state political proposal doom the research?

Alfred Taubman, an 84-year-old businessman and alumnus of the University of Michigan, has just pledged $22 million to fuel disease research at the university’s new A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research institute. This adds to $60 million previously donated to the university by Taubman.

Three of the five newly designated “Taubman Scholars” at the institute incorporate stem cells in their research.

While his largesse is certainly inspiring, Taubman and the institute’s approach to research emphasizes embryonic stem cell experimentation. The Detroit Free Press reported that Taubman recently invited former President Bill Clinton to join a fundraiser in defense of Proposal 2, an issue on the Michigan ballot this November. Proposal 2 would loosen restrictions against embryonic stem cell research for the entire state.

In fact, three of the five newly designated “Taubman Scholars” at the institute incorporate stem cells in their research.

Ann Arbor News reports that “embryonic stem cell research in Michigan is effectively banned outside of using the federally approved lines because of a state law that prohibits research that would destroy embryos, and because of the difficulty in obtaining other lines with non-federal monies.” Proposal 2 would overturn the relevant state restrictions against embryonic stem cell research.

For proponents, the chief argument seems to be economic. The News article also notes, “There is also the perception that Michigan, with a nearly 9 percent unemployment rate, has what some scientists describe as an inhospitable climate for research of any sort.”

Michigan voters should be aware that embryos aren’t the only source of stem cells—and, in fact, they are not the best source. Other sources of stem cells, such as those from skin and teeth, have been proven to be as effective or more effective than embryonic stem cells, but avoid the moral quicksand.

The clear biblical reason to avoid embryonic stem cells has nothing to do with their efficacy or inefficacy, however. The creation—and required destruction—of embryos for the sake of research is a macabre undertaking disguised by the technical details and the promise that it may one day lead to medical breakthroughs. But where’s the morality in cheapening, abusing, and destroying God-sanctioned life in alleged pursuit of a better life for some?

Be sure to watch our special edition Video on Demand called Cloning, Stem Cells, and the Value of Life to hear the complete story about this important topic.

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