by Steven Ertelt
December 20, 2006
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — The same multimillion dollar biotech firm that backed Amendment 2 on the November ballot is strongly opposing efforts by Missouri lawmakers to approve legislation this next session that would allow voters the chance to ban all forms of human cloning.
Backed by the Kansas City-based Stowers research institute, the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures spent $30 million misleading state voters about Amendment 2.
The group claimed it prohibited human cloning when it only banned human cloning for reproductive purposes.
Connie Farrow, a spokeswoman for the group, told the Associated Press that her organization opposes efforts by Rep. Jim Lembke of St. Louis and Sen. Matt Bartle of Lee’s Summit to allow voters to consider a full human cloning ban.
"This is just another attempt to hijack the democratic process," Farrow claimed. "The voters knew what they were voting on. It’s reprehensible that they would suggest voters were ill-informed."
"This is nothing more than an attempt by a few politicians to push their failed agenda of outlawing stem cell research and cures in our state," said Donna Rubin, chairwoman of the coalition, added.
Gov. Matt Blunt, a Republican who backs embryonic stem cell research, sided with biotech firms against the human cloning ban.
"My position on this is well known. I don’t see a need for another constitutional amendment," Blunt said. “Voters passed Amendment 2, which bans cloning, allows for responsible scientific research and protects patient access to new cures."
"Current Missouri law contains gaping loopholes that allow scientists to clone human beings," Lembke countered.
Bartle added that "most Missourians do not want to constitutionally protect human cloning.
What we are proposing today is a genuine ban on human cloning."
Meanwhile, a leading British scientist who has engaged in stem cell research says the benefits of human cloning for research are being oversold. Professor Austin Smith of the University of Cambridge says research cloning may never lead to cures and that scientists should focus more on adult stem cell research.
Professor Smith told the local Times newspaper that human cloning for research purposes "clearly upsets the general public" and has limited potential for treating diseases. It also adds little to the understanding of human biology, he said.
Smith also indicated that one of the biggest reasons for creating cloned human embryos — to eventually yield patient-specific embryonic stem cells that would overcome immune system rejection issues — may never come to fruition.