President Bush may have unwittingly done the stem cell research
community a big favor in 2001 when he outlawed federal funding
for all but a very limited category of work in the field.
For all that scientists bemoan Bush's ideologically inspired
hobbling of a highly promising biomedical discipline, stem cell
research has since acquired a gratifyingly high profile. Nancy
Reagan and Ron Reagan Jr., believing that the new science might
alleviate the Alzheimer's disease that afflicted Ronald Reagan
in his last years, have urged Bush to reverse himself. Sen.
John F. Kerry also has supported lifting the restrictions.
And now, here comes Proposition 71.
Scheduled for November's state ballot, Proposition 71 calls
for a $3-billion bond to finance stem cell research in California.
The initiative has been endorsed by business lobbies, medical
associations and political leaders (mostly Democrats) who see
California becoming the world's stem cell capital, with all
that means in new business, employment and prestige.
"There's the possibility of putting California in the
front ranks of biotechnology," says Treasurer Phil Angelides,
who with Controller Steve Westly is the...