Missouri Embryonic Stem Cell Research Petition Target of Pro-Life Lawsuit

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 29, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Missouri Embryonic Stem Cell Research Petition Target of Pro-Life Lawsuit Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
November 29, 2005

Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life advocates have filed a lawsuit against a petition seeking to place a vote on the November 2006 ballot that would endorse embryonic stem cell research and some forms of human cloning.

Attorneys for the Alliance Defense Fund, a pro-life law firm, filed suit on behalf of five pro-life Missouri residents and Missourians Against Human Cloning, a group created by Larry Weber, executive director of the Missouri Catholic Conference, to fight the petition.

ADF filed the lawsuit in Jefferson City last Wednesday and it asks the courts to halt the signature gathering process and to make sure the measure does not appear on the ballot.

The lawsuit says the measure should be thrown out because it is unfair and deceptive about the measure’s true intent.

If approved by voters, the measure would amend the Missouri State constitution to allow any kind of stem cell research allowed by federal law, including embryonic stem cell research which requires the destruction of human life.

The measure would also prohibit human cloning for reproduction but back human cloning for research purposes and mandate that any cloned human embryo be killed.

The second part is up for debate in the lawsuit because the measure says it would “ban human cloning or attempted cloning" when that’s not the case.

According to a report in the Kansas City Star, the ballot language “is structured in such a way so as to deceive voters into believing that the purpose of the proposed amendment is to ban human cloning when in truth and fact the proposed amendment protects and expressly allows human cloning to occur,” the lawsuit says.

Mike Seitz, a spokesman for Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, who signed off on the language, said the lawsuit has no merit and should be thrown out.

"State law requires the secretary of state to write language that is not likely to create prejudice either for or against a proposed measure," Seitz said. "We believe the language is fair and complies with state law."

Connie Farrow, spokeswoman for the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, the group sponsoring the measure, wants the lawsuit dismissed quickly so her group can begin collecting signatures, as it has plans to do in December.

The group must collect 145,000 valid signatures by May 9.