Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Don't Do Me No More Favors

In our July 2003 print issue, TIA published an in-depth analysis of the field of "bioethics," showing that one school seeks to rationalize religious restrictions on biotechnology—while the opposing school of bioethics wants to impose socialist controls. That's the story playing out in California, whose citizens passed a ballot initiative to provide massive state funding for stem-cell research, in defiance of religious conservatives—but where state lawmakers are now trying to impose socialist controls on the recipients of those funds. Scientists and biotech firms may end up saying, as crusty Chicago Tribune columnist Mike Royko used to put it, "Don't do me no more favors."

Outside of TIA, unfortunately, there is no school of thought that advocates no restrictions on medical innovation.

"Stem Cell Spending Fight Builds," Megan Garvey, LA Times, 12/7/04

"Although she campaigned for Proposition 71's passage, she said from the start that she felt it did not provide adequate specifics on key matters such as guaranteeing that Californians can afford the treatments they paid to develop, providing profit sharing for the state and ensuring transparency in how the billions are spent. Klein, a Palo Alto real estate developer who headed the multimillion-dollar campaign to pass the initiative, said such interference from politicians was exactly what he intended to prevent when he drew up the legislation. 'One of the vital goals was to provide stability in rule-making,' Klein said Monday at a National Academies of Science seminar on practices for the new agency. Klein cited President Bush's decision three years ago to restrict funding for embryonic stem cell research because of ethical objections as an example of how politics can 'destabilize and discourage' scientists from pursuing a controversial field."