by Steven Ertelt
January 19, 2006
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — A Missouri judge will hold a hearing today on a pro-life lawsuit challenging a constitutional amendment that would promote embryonic stem cell research and human cloning for research purposes.
Pro-life groups hope Cole County Senior Judge Byron Kinder will agree with them that signatures should stopped being gathered for the proposal.
Last October, a group called Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures proposed the measure, which would go before state voters in November.
The lawsuit says the language of the initiative should be struck down because, while it claims to “ban human cloning or attempted cloning," it prohibits only cloning for reproductive purposes. Human cloning to promote embryonic stem cell research would remain legal.
“This initiative purports to say that it bans human cloning,” Kevin Theriot, an Olathe lawyer involved the lawsuit told the Kansas City Star. “In fact, it specifically authorizes a form of human cloning.”
Donn Rubin, a St. Louis lawyer who is the head of the Coalition, claims pro-life groups are spreading false rumors about the initiative, which would mandate taxpayer funding for destructive embryonic stem cell research.
The case is gaining national attention and attorneys for two prominent pro-life groups, the Alliance Defense Fund and the Bioethics Defense Fund, have come to Missouri to assist in the lawsuit.
"The Secretary of State’s summary providing that the initiative ‘bans human cloning’ is an attempted deception on Missouri voters that does a disservice to both the objective nature of science and the principles of open honest public debate in the democratic process," said Dorinda Bordlee, executive director of the Bioethics Defense Fund.
Bordlee’s group is representing Missourians Against Human Cloning, an ad hoc group created to fight the ballot proposal.
"This case is about truth in the democratic process, which should not be sacrificed by those with financial incentives to change the meanings of words for political advantage," said Bordlee. "Considering the cloned human embryo deception of Hwang Woo-suk in South Korea, this further effort at deception by would-be cloners in the United States is not a surprise."
The judge will hear from scientists on both sides of the human cloning debate, including William Neaves, president of the Stowers Institute and Dr. David Prentice of the Family Research Council and a former science professor at Indiana State University.
The Coalition must turn in 145,000 signatures by May 9 to qualify the proposal for the November ballot.
Related web sites:
Bioethics Defense Fund – https://www.bdfund.org