by Steven Ertelt
August 29, 2006
St. Louis, MO (LifeNews.com) — Missouri residents who oppose embryonic stem cell research and human cloning held another rally against a measure voters will consider in November to promote both practices. The rally featured hundreds of people and is the latest in a series of events to show opposition to the Amendment 2 proposal.
Some of the speakers at the rally said the main backer of the initiative, the Stowers research institute, stands to gain financially if it is approved.
Rich Bott, executive vice president for the Missouri-based Bott Radio Network, told those attending that supporters are claiming to help patients but really more concerned with lining their pocketbooks.
"Have you ever noticed that when the devil tries to sell you an evil idea, he usually wraps it in a lie?" he asked, according to an AP report.
The rally was held at the Life Christian Church in the suburban St. Louis community of Sunset Hills and featured pro-life luminaries such as former presidential candidate Alan Keyes and Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly.
St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke, spoke for the Catholic Church, which opposes Amendment 2, and said it would allow "the legalized destruction of human life."
The rally was the third in a series of five, although more may be held. Previous rallies have had hundreds of attendees and been larger than an event sponsored held in Jefferson City where just 100 people attended.
Donn Rubin, chairman of the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, the backer of Amendment 2, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that opponents were the ones making wild claims, not his group.
He said they were "inventing wild claims to distract the public from what we’re really voting on: the right of Missourians to obtain the same medical treatments available in other states."
On August 18, more than 300 people showed up at a high school in Cape Girardeau to listen to speakers discuss the dangers of the initiative.
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 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.