by Steven Ertelt
August 8, 2006
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — A state ballot initiative that would promote human cloning and embryonic stem cell research in Missouri has been certified by the Secretary of State’s office to appear on the November ballot. The office said backers turned in enough signatures and it will appear on the ballot as Amendment 2.
Donn Rubin, chairman of Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, which sponsored the human cloning proposal, said he was happy to see the initiative on the ballot. He criticized pro-life lawmakers who are opposing it.
"Some politicians in Jefferson City have repeatedly … [proposed] legislation that would ban and criminalize promising types of stem cell research and cures in Missouri," he said.
The amendment would prevent lawmakers from proposing any bans on embryonic stem cell research of taxpayer funding of it and would allow human cloning for research purposes.
Missourians Against Human Cloning, supported by the Missouri Catholic Conference, the Missouri Baptist Convention and Missouri Right to Life, is leading the opposition to the amendment.
They’re concerned about the amendment’s prospects in November because Rubin’s group has already raised and spent $10 million on its campaign.
Shao-Chun Chang, a professor of medicine at Washington University in St. Louis, told 850 people at a rally against the amendment earlier this month that adult stem cell research shows considerably more promise than the use of embryonic stem cells.
Chang said supporters of the proposal are overstating the possibility that embryonic stem cells will cure diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and other life-threatening ailments.
Other leading scientists agree the measure presents concerns that Missouri voters need to consider.
"As much as proponents may deny it, this initiative would create a constitutional right to human cloning in Missouri," explained Robert Onder of the Washington University School of Medicine. "In other words, the initiative would create a right to clone and kill human embryos, and it would require all of us to pay for it."
Adrienne Hynek, Respect Life director of the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, says voters should oppose the amendment because "this initiative still allows cloning embryos as long as you kill a cloned embryo within 14 days of creating it."
Opponents of the proposal have also said that human cloning will end up exploiting women and that the process used to collect eggs for cloning is medically dangerous.