Missouri Supreme Court Won’t Hear Appeal on Human Cloning Ballot Initiative

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 15, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Missouri Supreme Court Won’t Hear Appeal on Human Cloning Ballot Initiative Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 15, 2006

Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — The Missouri Supreme Court on Friday declined to hear a case involving a challenge by pro-life groups to the language of the initiative Missouri voters are expected to consider this November. Although it claims to ban human cloning, the proposal includes support for human cloning for research purposes.

Missourians Against Human Cloning says the summary of the proposition, which is what appears on the ballot, deceives them into thinking all forms of human cloning are prohibited.

Jaci Winship, executive director of the group, decried the decision and said it was unfortunate that Missouri law “does not allow the courts to require that a ballot title is truthful."

The state high court’s decision to not take the case essentially upholds a a Missouri appeals court’s ruling in March that the ballot language should remain as is despite the deceptive language.

In its decision, written by Judge Victor Howard, the appeals panel said state law allows the initiative’s sponsor, Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, to set definitions.

The ruling said state law requires the wording to be clear and concise but not necessarily the best possible wording.

“Election ballots should be neutral and not be designed to intentionally mislead voters,” said Kevin Theriot, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, a pro-life law firm involved in the case.

"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," he added.

The Bioethics Defense Fund was also involved in the lawsuit, filed against Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.

"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. "Missouri voters need to know that this initiative creates a constitutional right to clone human lives to destroy them for experimentation."

The appeals court ruling upheld a decision by Cole County Senior Judge Byron Kinder in January who determined the ballot wording is "sufficient and fair and the language is neutral."

Last week, Missouri Coalition of Lifesaving Cures turned in 288,991 petition signatures to get the initiative on the ballot.

Related web sites:
Missourians Against Human Cloning – https://www.nocloning.org