.- The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and a wealthy evangelical Christian are the major funders to date of a campaign against a California ballot measure that would fund stem-cell research and cloning in the state, reported The Associated Press.
Each contributed $50,000 this week to separate campaign groups, which have raised $115,000 combined. Ballot measure supporters have raised about $12 million.
The measure, which is listed on the Nov. 2 ballot as Proposition 71, would have the state borrow $3 billion to pay for the controversial research.
"We believe life begins at the moment of conception," said USCCB spokesperson Sr. Mary Ann Walsh. "Stem-cell research involves the taking of a human life."
As a result, the USCCB contributed $50,000 to a new campaign committee, called Californians Against Loan and Clone, created by the Catholic Church of California.
Evangelical Christian Howard Ahmanson Jr. made a $50,000 contribution to the official opposition campaign group called Doctors, Patients & Taxpayers for Fiscal Responsibility.
As heir to a savings and loan fortune, Ahmanson finances many Christian organizations and non-denominational think tanks, including the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, which disputes much of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, reported the AP.
Some women's groups also oppose the research because of its insatiable need for fertilized eggs, most of which are now donated by fertility clinics with surplus supplies.