Granholm’s Stem-Cell 'Shock'

Sen. Barack Obama and Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
Sen. Barack Obama and Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm. (photo: Getty)

Astute Daily Blog readers will have noted there’s a plethora of political posts at the moment.

That’s unavoidable, given the approach of Election Day.

But here’s one key election issue that the Daily Blog hasn’t discussed until now: Proposal 2, the ballot proposal in Michigan that would amend the state constitution to authorize research using stem cells obtained by killing early human embryos.

The Register’s Oct. 26 issue included this insightful article by Dr. Donald Condit. In the article, the Michigan orthopedic surgeon discusses some of the deceptive arguments made by Proposal 2’s supporters in hopes of persuading state voters to back the ballot measure.

There’s been a key development since we went to press with Dr. Condit’s article: Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who is Catholic, has been publicly rebuked by Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing, Mich., for remarks the Democratic governor made at an Oct. 26 campaign rally for Barack Obama.

Expressing her support at the rally for Proposition 2, Granholm said that “as a Catholic, I can say to be pro-cure is to be pro-life,” Associated Press reported.

In an Oct. 27 statement, Bishop Boyea called Granholm’s comment a “shocking” misrepresentation of Church teaching regarding embryonic stem-cell research.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Bishop Boyea said. “While the Catholic Church strongly supports legitimate forms of stem cell research and all other proper forms of scientific inquiry, the Church also teaches that is it is always immoral to destroy a human embryo.”

Said Bishop Boyea, “To be in favor of Proposal 2 is not to be pro-life. A well-formed Catholic conscience would never lead a person to support Proposal 2 ‘as a Catholic.’”

Indeed, there’s not an iota of ambiguity about Church teaching regarding the grave immorality of embryonic stem-cell research. The Vatican has specifically condemned it, and the U.S. bishops stated in their Nov. 2007 document, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” that “destructive research on human embryos” is “intrinsically evil” and therefore “must always be opposed” by Catholic voters.

And, to help guide those who may have been misled by claims by the abortion lobby and by proponents of embryonic stem-cell research that early embryos are not living human beings, the Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person this week released a White Paper, entitled “When Does Human Life Begin?” Written by Maureen Condic, associate professor of neurobiology and anatomy at the University of Utah School of Medicine, the White Paper details the undisputed scientific evidence that a new human life is created at the moment of conception.

Will any or all of this influence Granholm to shift her position on embryonic stem-cell research? The Michigan governor’s political history of ignoring Church teachings on life issues doesn’t give much reason for optimism.

But Catholics in the state can certainly pray that she does have a change of heart someday, if not before Nov. 4.

And of course, they can turn out in force next Tuesday to help defeat Proposal 2.

— Tom McFeely