by Steven Ertelt
May 8, 2006
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — Missouri Sen. Jim Talent is a Republican who opposes abortion, but he was in danger of alienating himself with a key constituency who helped him get into the U.S. Senate — pro-life groups.
With his announcement last week that he will oppose a November ballot initiative that backs embryonic stem cell research and human cloning, Talent has shored up his support.
Pro-life advocates have been upset with Talent for months after he announced earlier this year that he was no longer a co-sponsor of a Senate bill that would ban all forms of human cloning.
His decision to oppose the pro-cloning initiative makes amends.
"We’re very pleased that the senator has come out against this initiative," said Pam Fichter, president of Missouri Right to Life, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I think it will have a very big impact on the pro-life turnout in this state."
That support is important because Talent faces a hotly contested re-election race against pro-abortion Auditor Claire McCaskill, who does back the cloning initiative.
"Ninety percent of our endorsed candidates in the last major election were successful," Fichter told the Dispatch about the candidates her group has endorsed.
Talent gave key pro-life advocates a tip about his position on the initiative before he announced it to the public which shows the senator appears to understand he needs the backing of pro-life advocates to win in November.
Meanwhile, Sam Lee, head of Campaign Life Missouri, another pro-life group, told the St. Louis newspaper that the timing of Talent’s statement in opposition to the initiative helped the cause.
Talent’s statement came just hours after the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures announced it had filed enough signatures to qualify the pro-cloning initiative for the November ballot.
"The timing (of Talent’s statement) was perfect, from our point of view, because it took away from their announcement about all their signatures," Lee explained.
Talent said he couldn’t support the initiative because it backs human cloning for research.
"I personally cannot support the initiative because I’ve always been opposed to human cloning and this measure would make cloning human life at the earliest stage a constitutional right," he said.
There is some suggestion that the initiative could be placed on the August primary ballot, but Lee doesn’t think that will happen. Secretary of State Robin Carnahan probably won’t certify the initiative until after the deadline has passed to put it on the August ballot.