by Steven Ertelt
April 27, 2006
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — Advocates of embryonic stem cell research in Missouri have two weeks left to gather signatures for their ballot proposal to promote the controversial research and human cloning. They must gather the signatures for their statewide petition by May 7.
Pro-life advocates are hoping to stop them by persuading those who signed the petitions to remove their names from it.
Several Catholic churches are providing public notaries and other helpers after church to those who may want to remove their names from the petition after learning about how it supports unethical research the church opposes.
Secretary of State Robin Carnahan’s office told the St. Louis Post Dispatch that anyone who has signed any of the petitions for the November initiatives can remove their name by submitting a notarized letter to her office requesting the signature’s removal.
Molly Kertz, director of the St. Louis Archdiocese’s Respect Life Apostolate, told the newspaper that the churches want to help those who regret signing the petition.
Meanwhile, Missourians Against Human Cloning, a coalition of pro-life groups opposed to the initiative, is running radio ads to encourage people to not sign the petition. Executive director Jaci Winship told the Post Dispatch that her group knows of many pro-life advocates who mistakenly signed the petitions.
Carnahan’s office has already received 45 letters from people who want their names removed.
The Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, which is sponsoring the embryonic stem cell research initiative raised more than $2.5 million in the last three months to promote the initiative and spend $2.2 million to persuade voters to back it.
In total, the group has raised almost $7 million and spent more than $6 million since beginning its campaign to promote the destructive research and human cloning.
The proposal itself has been tied up in court battles because it claims to ban human cloning. In reality it will prohibit human cloning for reproductive purposes but allow it for research.
Pro-life advocates are planning to appeal a Missouri appeals court’s decision overturning its argument that the proposal is misleading.
The Alliance Defense Fund, a pro-life law firm, filed papers last week with the Missouri Court of Appeals for a review of the decision.
“Election ballots should be neutral and not be designed to intentionally mislead voters,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Kevin Theriot. "The voters deserve to know that the proposed ballot initiative would create a constitutional right to treat human life as a commodity and raw material for unethical human experimentation.”
The appeals court in March ruled that the ballot language should remain as is despite the deceptive language. The ruling said state law requires the wording to be clear and concise but not necessarily the best possible wording.
"The people of Missouri must not be duped into supporting the deceptive initiative," Nikolas Nikas, president and general counsel of the Bioethics Defense Fund, told LifeNews.com.
Related web sites:
Missourians Against Human Cloning – https://www.nocloning.org