Assessing the Doyle Stem Cell Ad
Conservatives have been doing there best the past couple of days to muddy the waters on stem cell research, particularly in light of the most recent Doyle campaign ad on the issue.
Most are directly challenging the ad’s assertion that Mark Green has said he would like to outlaw stem cell research, but some have even claimed that Green has never even voted against embryonic stem cell research; rather, they argue, he’s merely against cloning.
The latter claim is simply not true.
First, cloning is not currently a part of embryonic stem cell research in the
Second, while Green has never voted to ban private research on embryonic stem cells (to be sure, there has never been a bill for him to vote on regarding this), his votes last year and last week to preserve restrictions on federal funding for research on new embryonic stem cell lines – research that does not involve cloning – clearly show opposition to embryonic stem cell research.
But even the wider charge the Doyle ad makes – that Green would like to outlaw stem cell research – has some significant accuracy to it, as well.
Although, to be fair, the ad should’ve said embryonic stem cell research, since Green hasn’t shown any opposition to other forms of stem cell research. Yet, on the other hand, researchers are in agreement that embryonic stem cell research holds the most promise for finding cures to a variety of diseases including juvenile diabetes, which afflicts the girl from the ad.
Green’s position on embryonic stem cell research is a moving target, to say the least. Prior to last week, the closest he came to publicly stating a position was to refer to the research as immoral.
In a letter to Doyle a couple of months ago, two bishops from
It was in this context that the Doyle ad was created. Considering Green was calling the research immoral and backing pleas for the withdrawal of state support from it, it isn’t at all a stretch to say he doesn’t want it to continue.
However, as of last week – after the ad was produced – the Green line on embryonic stem cell research changed. Now it’s just an issue of public finance for Green, not morality. To be sure, a Green press release on the topic last week talks all about funding and doesn’t mention morality once. And at a citizen forum exactly one week ago, Green had this to say: “Are we going to force taxpayers to pay for it? There is no ban here on private sector research.”
After all, if Green was to stick with the morality argument, for the sake of consistency, he would’ve also needed to oppose the widely-popular practice of in vitro fertilization (IVF) – which is something no politician seeking statewide office wants to do. (The Catholic Church, in fact, does call for the end of IVF for the same reasons it supports the end of embryonic stem cell research.)
So, instead, he backed off and has now started to use the funding argument. And, as it happens, at the citizen forum last week, Green came out publicly in support of IVF. (Although, it should be noted, the new funding line doesn’t exactly give Green consistency, considering some government funding right here in Wisconsin goes to support the destruction of embryos as a necessary part of the IVF process.)All-in-all, to call the Doyle ad completely off base – as conservatives and the Green Team have – is itself off the mark and nothing more than an attempt to cover the fact that the little Green has offered on the topic of embryonic stem cell research ranges from restrictive at best to downright hostile at worst.