SAN FRANCISCO – Ebay founder and billionaire Pierre Omidyar and his wife, Pamela, contributed $1 million to the well-heeled campaign supporting Proposition 71, which would make $3 billion available for human embryonic stem cell research in California.
The campaign has raised more than $7 million since last year, much of it coming from Silicon Valley venture capitalists.
Omidyar is Ebay’s chairman and founder of the philanthropic Omidyar Foundation, which donates roughly $3 million annually to a wide range of organizations. Efforts to reach Omidyar through his publicists late Wednesday were unsuccessful.
An association of California Roman Catholic churches has raised less than $50,000, said spokeswoman Carol Hogan.
"This is going to be a real David versus Goliath fight," Hogan said.
The church and other groups opposed to abortion also are opposed to the stem cell work because days-old embryos are destroyed during research. Some feminist groups also oppose the research because they fear some women may be exploited because researchers rely heavily on donated eggs.
If passed in November, the $3 billion bond would make nearly $300 million available annually for 10 years to California researchers at state schools and biotech companies. That’s 10 times greater than the amount of money currently available to stem cell researchers through the federal government and private foundations such as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
The California initiative, if passed, would forbid the cloning of embryos to make babies, but would permit it to create stem cells in labs. Scientists believe cloning stem cells would help reduce immune rejection problems in people. The measure would prohibit funding for research that involves the destruction of embryos older than 12 days.
I believe that when they refer to the Catholic Church raising less than #50,00 they are referring to the group Doctors, Patients and Taxpayers for Fiscal Responsibility which the California Catholic Conference has been meeting with. They are raising funds to oppose this ballot initiative.
The group promoting the initiative has a website, Cures for California, which contains misleading "facts" and neglects to mention embryos or embryonic stem cells or cloning-other than "reproductive" cloning. That may be because the initiative itself does not mention those words, but instead uses "progenitor cells" to identify embryos and "somatic cell nuclear transfer" to describe cloning when the cloned embryo will be destroyed for research (source).
Of course it is not surprise the amount of deception used to tried to promote this initiative. The majority of venture capitalists and biotech firms putting money into this will in turn profit from it. This is what this initiative entails.
* Sets up a costly new bureaucracy, with no legislative oversight, that will dole out $3 billion in taxpayers money;
* Exempts the recipients of these tax dollars from California’s Open Meeting laws when they deem it appropriate;
* Requires a 70 percent vote of the Legislature before our elected representatives can exercise budgetary oversight of how these funds are spent;
* Funds cloning of human embryos, but disingenuously calls the procedure "somatic cell nuclear transfer"—the scientific term—in order to obscure the reality.
* Allows this new bureaucracy to re-write California’s medical Informed Consent regulations;
* Forbids the Governor from exercising oversight of the new bureaucracy’s spending practices; and
* Amends the California constitution to empower its sponsors in perpetuity and prevent our elected representatives from oversight.
And you wonder why the embryo is okay to kill before 12 days of life but not after? Does the unique property of human dignity descend upon it on the 13th day? Is it only the mater of squeamishness and not wanting to have it look too much like a more developed human being? Our laws on life are just totally incoherent and it is just getting worse. Abortion is fine by them but not destroying embryos over 12 days of age.