by Steven Ertelt
August 18, 2006
Cape Girardeau, MO (LifeNews.com) — Opponents of Amendment 2, which would have the state of Missouri promote human cloning and embryonic stem cell research, held a rally with twice as many people as a recent event sponsored by backers of the referendum.
More than 300 people showed up at a high school in Cape Girardeau to listen to Alan Keyes and a representative of a pro-life group talk about the dangers of the initiative.
Alan Keyes, the keynote speaker, told those attending the Christians Against Human Cloning rally that human cloning and embryonic stem cell research involve the destruction of human life and are just as brutal as Nazi experiments on prisoners during World War II.
Allowing human cloning for research purposes would lead to "new legions of humans to be enslaved and brutalized" he told the audience, according to a Southeast Missourian news report.
Vision America, a Texas-based group, is sponsoring the rallies and this was the second in a series. The group is assisting Missourians Against Human Cloning, which includes several Missouri pro-life and religious groups.
The 300 people in attendance was twice as many as a rally backers of the human cloning initiative put on at a Jefferson City hotel Monday night. It drew less than 150 people despite the glitz and glamor and busing people in from neighboring cities.
Opponents of the initiative have complained that backers don’t represent grassroots Missouri residents as the group heading up the initiative has received more than $16 million from a stem cell research firm, the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, that stands to gain from the referendum passing.
The chief executive officer of the institute, Dr. Bill Neaves, told the Southeast Missourian that opponents of Amendment 2 were lying about Stowers.
"The terrible thing about the coalition is that they are willing to tell the most outrageous lies in the hopes that when November rolls around, for each of the lies they tell there is one small part of the population that remembers and will be motivated to cast a negative vote," Neaves said.
Rep. Nathan Cooper, a Cape Girardeau Republican, and judicial candidate John Heisserer, a Democrat, attended the anti-cloning rally.
Cooper told the newspaper he would vote against Amendment 2. Heisserer said he was pro-life but didn’t want to comment on the amendment.
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.
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.