The Blog

Big Biotech's Voracious Appetite

Forget the old stem-cell research debate--laws in New Jersey, Illinois, Delaware, and California have moved the goal posts into brave new territory.

11:00 PM, Nov 15, 2004 • By WESLEY J. SMITH
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California. California's just passed Proposition 71 appears moderate by comparison. After all, it established a 12-day time limit for maintenance of SCNT cloned embryos that biotechnologists now have a state constitutional right to manufacture. But then again, California's biotechnologists should not let their hearts be troubled: The authors of Proposition 71 cleverly provided an escape hatch to this seemingly firm restriction by providing that the time period to conduct research "shall initially be 8-12 days after cell division begins" [emphasis added]. The word "initially" clearly implies that time limit will be extended once the billions of dollars of borrowed money that Proposition 71 will pour into SCNT research advances the science to the point that researchers are ready to move beyond experimenting with cloned embryos in Petri dishes.

The old assurance that only leftover IVF embryos will be used in stem-cell research is as dead as Yasser Arafat: The mainstream media just haven't printed the obituary. But people have the right to know that Big Biotech's ambitions now accept no reasonable limits.

Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture. His current book is Consumer's Guide to a Brave New World.