Missouri Judge Upholds False Wording of Stem Cell Research Measure

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 20, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Missouri Judge Upholds False Wording of Stem Cell Research Measure

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
January 20, 2006

Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — A Missouri judge has ruled upholding the language of a state ballot proposal that claims to ban human cloning but, in reality, allows human cloning for research purposes. Cole County Senior Judge Byron Kinder ruled abruptly right after hearings were held on Thursday.

Kinder’s ruling deals only with how the ballot language should be presented and did not cover the complex issues involved with human cloning.

He indicated the ballot language was "sufficient, fair and impartial" saying the "title is good enough to inform the people."

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.

According to a St. Louis Post Dispatch report, Donn Rubin, head of the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, said his group would get out on the streets to begin collecting the thousands of signatures needed to get the initiative on the ballot.

Kevin Theriot, an attorney with the pro-life Alliance Defense Fund, said he wasn’t not sure whether an appeal would be filed.

Rubin told the Kansas City Star newspaper, his group will pursue signatures whether the ruling is appealed or not.

"We won’t wait for an appeal," Rubin said. "Our opponents have done everything they could to slow down this process to keep this off the ballot."

The case has gained national attention and attorneys for two prominent pro-life groups, the Alliance Defense Fund and the Bioethics Defense Fund, went 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 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