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    In March of 2009 President Obama signed an executive order that revised a previous policy concerning stem cell research. The previous policy, put in place by the Busch administration, only allowed scientists to complete research on stem cell lines that were created before August 2001. It also denied scientists government funding to assist in any projects. This policy was extremely constricting because the certain stem cell lines created before August 2001 were running out and monetary sources were needed. Scientists had no way to obtain more subjects to run tests on. But, Obama lifted that policy and now scientists are able to use any stem cell lines they care for. The federal government is now allowed to provide money to research projects, also.
    . In Michigan, voters passed another law allowing scientists to have more abilities to research with stem cells. In November 2008, voters approved Proposal 2. This proposal amended the Michigan constitution and over rid the 1978 law that prohibited the use of human embryos for research. This new amendment makes Michigan the third of three states to protect stem cell research under its constitution. There are some stipulations, however. The embryos must have been created for the purpose of fertility treatment. They must have been otherwise discarded, for any reason. They must have been donated through informed, written consent in which both parties knew exactly what was to happen to the embryo. The embryos must have also come from eggs fertilized for 14 days or less.
    The new amendment gives many families hope. Embryonic stem cells are being used around the world today to find treatments, and even cures, to some of the world's worst diseases. It is believed that this research could lead to many discoveries. Scientist think stem cells could help cure cancer, control heart failure, juvenile diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Stem cells are also thought to have the ability to heal spinal cord injuries. They can be used to test new drugs. They are also believed to have the ability to regenerate organs, allowing more people to receive organ transplants sooner in the future.

    Although scientists believe there are many good attributes stem cells can have, other people believe it is unethical to use them in research. The main ethical issue lies with the use of embryonic stem cells. This type of stem cell is taken out of a blastocyst, or an embryo that is five to ten days old. Taking stem cells from an embryo, though, kills it. The embryo will have to potential for life and prolife groups all around the world are concerned with this issue. To them, it is the same thing as an abortion.

    In Michigan, many citizens are banning together against the research, while many are combining forces for the research. Many people are discouraged about how slow the research is going and this is causing them to change their minds about the amendment to the constitution. There have been protests and such throughout the state. Others, though, are keeping faith in the system. In Detroit citizens have banded together to form a coalition whose main purpose is to advocate nationwide the advantages this research could bring. The coalition is formally called The Stem Cell Action campaign and is focusing on comprehensive legislation that protects and supports federal research. The question is whether the state will appeal the amendment. It is possible that the government of Michigan will try to appeal the previous amendment made to the constitution. They might not. There are supporters for both sides of the argument and both have valid points. However, it will take some time to see how this battle plays out.

    Sources:
    http://www.stemcellresearchformichigan.com/currentlaw.html
    http://stemcellresearchformichigan.com/media/news/Crains.EmbryonicStemCellResearchSupportersFormAdvocacyGroup.11.11.10.pdf
    http://www.michiganliberal.com/diary/17340/the-coming-campaign-to-repeal-stem-cell-research
    http://detnews.com/article/20101004/LIFESTYLE03/10040343/Stem-cell-research-too-slow-for-some
    http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2010/10/university_of_michigan_announc.html
    http://www.mackinac.org/9261

     

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    The Michigan Policy Network is a student-led public education and research program to report and organize news and information about the political process surrounding Michigan state policy issues. It is run out of the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University, with participation by students from the College of Social Science, the College of Communication, and James Madison College. 

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