Comments: California Court Rejects False Science in Proposition 71.

Irving News Comments
Copyright November 1, 2004
Reproduced with Permission

Most people in California don't know yet that their state passed specific laws in 2001 and 2002 that specifically legalized both human cloning and human embryonic stem cell research (hescr). Those laws erroneously define the cloning procedure known as "nuclear transfer" as "just stem cell research" if the goal or intention of the researcher is to use the cloned human embryo in destructive experimentation only. It is cloning -- i.e., reproductive cloning -- if the goal or intention of the researcher is to implant and bring the human clone to BIRTH. This is scientifically absurd, has been specifically claimed by California physician researcher Irving Weissman, Nobelist Paul Berg and others, and is used also in Proposition 71.

Proposition 71 refers innocuously to "human embryonic stem cells", and most people think that simply means those derived from sexually reproduced human embryos left over in IVF clinics after "infertility treatments". That is only part of the story. The other part of the story is that, quite deceptively, it also includes human embryonic stem cells derived a-sexually from cloned human embryos -- i.e., human embryos that have been cloned by "nuclear transfer" for the purpose of deriving stem cells from them.

The organization below understood this, and used it in their rebuttals of the arguments of those promoting Proposition 71. They were subsequently sued by these proponents who tried again to claim that "nuclear transfer" was not cloning if the goal or intention was to just use the resulting human embryos for research. The California Court rejected the proponents argument, agreeing that "nuclear transfer" is cloning regardless of the purpose or intention of the researchers.

Below please see direct quotations from the legal Affidavit filed on behalf of the DPTFR by scientist Dr. Stuart Newman who supported their accurate scientific claim that "nuclear transfer" is cloning regardless of the intentions of the researchers. The original affidavit can be accessed at: See also Irving discussion of this same false science at: (DNI)


The Hearing on August 4, 2004

The Proponents of Proposition 71 sued California's Secretary of State, Kevin Shelley, claiming that the arguments presented by the Doctors, Patients &Taxpayers for Fiscal Responsibility (DPTFR) coalition contained "false and misleading" material and demanded that our argument and rebuttal be changed.

DPTFR attorneys, James F. Sweeney and Stephen J. Greene, objected.

In a significant reproach to the Proponents, the Court refused to concur with their suggested changes, but instead accepted our suggested changes as agreed to in an August 4, 2004 hearing held in front of Superior Court Judge Gail Ohanesian.

An affidavit by Dr Stuart Newman was used in defense of "cloning" language in our rebuttal argument. The judge agreed that the cloning language stayed in—over the objections of the proponents.

The Court-approved edited version of our ballot argument and rebuttal contains changes such as bankruptcy becomes "financial ruin" and deficit bonds became "bond debt."


Dr. Stuart Newman is a member of the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy at New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York. He received a B.A. from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Chicago. He has been a visiting professor at the Pasteur Institute, Paris, the Centre a l'Energie Atomic-Saclay Gif-sur-Yvette, the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, the University of Tokyo, and was a Fogarty Senior International Fellow at Monash University, Australia. He is a founding member of the Council for Responsible Genetics, Cambridge, MA, and currently a fellow of the Institute of Biotechnology and the Human Future at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL. He has worked for three decades on the stem cells that specify the skeletal and connective tissues of the vertebrate limb. He has published more than two dozen research articles and reviews on this subject. He has contributed to several additional scientific fields, including protein folding and assembly of tissue matrices. He has also written on the social and cultural aspects of biological research and technology.

Declaring under penalty of perjury that the following is true and accurate, Dr. Newman states: "Until Stanford University decided in the last year to stop using the terms 'embryo cloning' and 'cloned embryos' to describe the technique of producing embryos by nuclear transfer and the products of this technique, these were the terms used virtually exclusively for these items. ... The term "cloned embryos" is still the term of art in this field of research for the product of nuclear transfer. ... The assertion that the viable product of nuclear transfer is not an embryo is equivalent to the assertion that organisms that develop from these products, such as Dolly the sheep, are not animals. ... Whether or not a scientist or physician intends to implant a cluster of cells does not determine whether or not it is an embryo. To believe that the material nature of a biological entity changes depending on the intention of the investigator it an example of magical thinking, which is antithetical to modern science."