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Truth Test: Ad attacks Coffman stem cell stance

7:04 PM, Oct 17, 2012   |    comments
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Throughout the 2012 political season, 9NEWS will hold those who run political ads on our networks accountable for what they say.

Republican incumbent Mike Coffman is trying to fight off Democratic challenger Joe Miklosi. The ad, entitled "Decides", offers us a good opportunity to let you decide if you think the ad is fair or not.

Young man: Next summer I'm going on a camping trip with my friends. On the way home, I'll be in a car accident, and I'll be paralyzed for the rest of my life.

Woman: In 20 years I'll have Alzheimer's. I won't recognize my husband or my kids.

Girl: Next week my mommy and daddy are going to find out I have diabetes.

Woman (holding up picture of Coffman): This is Representative Mike Coffman. 

Girl (holding up picture of Coffman): He's running for Congress.

True and true. U.S. Representative Mike Coffman is indeed aiming to be re-elected to his position in Colorado's 6th Congressional District.

Man: He opposes embryonic stem cell research.

True. On the Colorado Right to Life questionnaire, Coffman responded "yes" to the question, "Will you oppose any research or practice that would intentionally destroy the tiniest living humans (embryonic stem cell research)?" 

In addition, according to the National Institute of Health, embryonic stem cells are "isolated from human embryos that are a few days old"/"developed from fetal tissue." On his website, under the heading "Social Issues," Coffman states, "The life of the unborn must be protected."

Woman: Is he a doctor?

Man: Is he a scientist?

Just to answer the ad's questions, Coffman is neither a doctor nor a scientist. Click here to read his biography.

Woman: Why would Mr. Coffman bet my life that he knows best?

Man: Help me.

Girl: Help me.

Woman: Who knows? Maybe I'm your mother.

Man: Maybe I'm your grandson.

Girl: Maybe I'm your little girl.

Woman: How do you know I'm not you?

Man: Embryonic stem cell research could save lives. Maybe yours, or your family's. Someone you love. Only, Congressman Coffman says no.

It is true that embryonic stem cell research could save lives.

According to the National Institute of Health:

"There are many ways in which human stem cells can be used in research and the clinic. Studies of human embryonic stem cells will yield information about the complex events that occur during human development ... Human stem cells could also be used to test new drugs ... Perhaps the most important potential application of human stem cells is the generation of cells and tissues that could be used for cell-based therapies ... Stem cells, directed to differentiate into specific cell types, offer the possibility of a renewable source of replacement cells and tissues to treat diseases including Alzheimer's diseases, spinal cord injury, stroke, burns, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis."

As we have already discussed, it is also true that Coffman opposes embryonic stem cell research. However, the ad's implication that Coffman's opposition to embryonic stem cell research means that he is opposed to saving lives is misleading.

In fact, based on his belief that "The life of the unborn must be protected," Coffman would likely argue that his opposition to embryonic stem cell research means that the ad has it backwards - and that his opposition means that he supports the saving of lives.

Girl: How come he gets to decide who lives and who dies? Who is he?

Text: Mike Coffman opposes embryonic stem cell research.

As we have already discussed, this claim is true; Coffman does oppose embryonic stem cell research.

Voiceover: Vote against Mike Coffman.

Voiceover: House Majority PAC is responsible for the content of this advertising.

The House Majority PAC is a pro-Democrat Super PAC, which describes itself as an organization "designed to hold Republicans accountable and help win back the House majority for Democrats.

House Majority PAC is committed to building a long-term organization that can take on the Republican outside groups in the battle for the House Majority.

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