Missouri Catholic Officials Join Anti-Embryonic Stem Cell Research Lawsuit

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 15, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
December 15, 2005

Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — Several leading Catholic officials in Missouri have joined in a lawsuit seeking to stop a petition that would put a vote to back embryonic stem cell research on the November 2006 ballot.

Pro-life groups filed a lawsuit because the language of the measure claims to ban human cloning. In reality, only reproductive human cloning is prohibited but cloning for research purposes is allowed to continue.

Six Missouri bishops have signed on to the Alliance Defense Fund’s lawsuit to challenge the wording of the proposed constitutional amendment.

In a statement released Wednesday, Bishop Robert Finn of the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph said the amendment “is deeply flawed, very deceptive and confusing.” He said the bishops want it made clear that the amendment allows some forms of cloning.

The bishops have filed a legal motion to intervene in the case and become parties to the suit.

The Cole County Circuit Court in Jefferson City will consider the case today, according to a Kansas City Star report, but it’s not known whether they will take up their motion.

The amendment would make sure embryonic stem cell research, which has yet to cure a patient and results in the destruction of human life, will remain legal in Missouri. State lawmakers have come close but not been successful in passing legislation to prohibit all forms of human cloning.

The initial suit by ADF, a pro-life law firm, represented five pro-life Missouri residents and Missourians Against Human Cloning, a group created by Larry Weber, the director of the Missouri Catholic Conference.

The lawsuit says 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."

ADF filed the lawsuit in Jefferson City last month and it asks the courts to stop the signature-gathering process proponents are undertaking to try to get on the ballot.

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan called the petition language fair and allowed the signature-gathering to begin.

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 had planned to start doing this month.

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