by Steven Ertelt
December 19, 2006
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — The battle over human cloning and embryonic stem cell research in Missouri is far from over. Voters there approved the pro-cloning Amendment 2 in November by a very narrow margin but lawmakers are introducing a measure that would let state voters ban all forms of human cloning.
Though its supporters argued otherwise, Amendment 2 authorized human cloning for research purposes.
Pro-life groups and lawmakers want to prohibit both reproductive and research cloning and legislation that would bring about a "genuine ban on human cloning" has been announced for the next legislative session.
Sen. Matt Bartle of Lee’s Summit and Representative Jim Lembke of St. Louis are the main sponsors of the joint resolution, according to MissouriNet.
The two lawmakers are touring the state today to promote the bill and their campaign will take them to Jefferson City, Chesterfield, Cape Girardeau, Springfield, and Kansas City.
The proposal calls for the legislative to place the human cloning ban on the 2008 ballot that would change much of the language of Amendment 2.
Lembke said the proposal wasn’t an attempt to overturn Amendment 2 but to clarify what voters want state law to be regarding cloning.
“We believe the message sent by voters on Nov. 7 was that they want to ban human cloning,” Lembke told the Kansas City Star. “Amendment 2 had a loophole a mile wide, and this would close that loophole by banning all human cloning, including research cloning.”
Shortly after the vote, Bartle said opponents of the grisly research may have the advantage if they are the ones crafting the content of the amendment and he indicated voters are typically inclined to vote for state measures.
“I’d like to see us give voters an opportunity to vote on a human-cloning ban,” Bartle said. “What they voted on Tuesday was permission for researchers to conduct human cloning to their hearts’ desire.”
He said a drive to repeal the constitutional amendment could help prevent money from flowing into the state for human cloning and embryonic stem cell research if investors worry that such research would be stopped by voters in two years.
Pro-life groups say their fight against human cloning and embryonic stem cell research isn’t done and they will look to different avenues to keep the grisly research in check.
“We knew from the very beginning that no matter what happened yesterday our work isn’t finished,” Pam Fichter, president of Missouri Right to Life, told the Columbia newspaper.
“This is an issue that is going to be on our plate for quite some time … nothing changed yesterday as far as that goes, we will continue to deal with the issue of human cloning and destructive research.”
On election day, Amendment 2 received just 51 percent of the vote and won by a small 50,000 vote margin out of more than two million votes cast.
A state ballot measure can go before voters if enough signatures are collected or the state legislature approves a measure to place an item on it.