One of the nation’s foremost experts in embryonic stem cell research, and the director of the Center for Stem Cell Biology at the University of Michigan, Sean J. Morrison, has leveled an accusation of harassment at the Michigan legislature and faith-based groups.
Morrison is leaving Michigan to head up a new pediatric research initiative at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, and took the opportunity to slam both faith-based groups and Michigan’s GOP legislators:
“There are a small number of faith-based special interest groups that are attacking relentlessly. Relentlessly looking for ways to block these forms of medical research most people in the country feel should be supported,” he said. “They’re well-enough organized and sophisticated and have deep-enough pockets. What that means is we are constantly under attack.”
Morrison was a vocal leader in the successful effort to pass Proposition 2, the 2008 amendment to the state Constitution that allows embryonic stem cell research in Michigan. Leading up to the vote, he testified before lawmakers on the potential of the research and gave media interview after media interview explaining the science.
Since 2008, lawmakers and conservative-leaning groups have attempted to undermine the change, he said in an interview Wednesday.
The latest attempt is a set of new reporting requirements for embryonic stem cell research, which was tacked onto the higher education budget bill.
“It’s a way of making it more difficult for the University of Michigan,” he said. “And it’s unfortunate, because U-M is a spectacular place, and it’s a terrific environment in which to do research, but there are lots of ways in which the Legislature holds this place back.”
Perhaps the GOP should reactivate the use of the scarlet letter, only instead of an “A” for adultery, they can make it an “S” for scientist and tattoo the foreheads of scientists they disagree with. I feel fairly certain that We’d have damn near every scientist in the country wearing that letter on his/her forehead.