Missouri Measure to Close Loopholes on Human Cloning Won’t Make Ballot
by Steven Ertelt
May 2, 2008
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — A measure that responds to the 2006 Amendment 2 proposal Missouri voters narrowly approved will not make the ballot this November. The measure would prohibit somatic cell nuclear transfer, a type of human cloning practice used by scientists to create and kill human beings for research purposes.
It is designed to close a pro-cloning loophole in Amendment 2 that opponents hard warned would lead to human cloning.
On Friday, the Missouri Court of Appeals ruled that part of Secretary of State Robin Carnahans ballot summary was insufficient and unfair.
Carnahan released the ballot summary in October and the bioethics group said the language was biased because it accused the group of wanting to ban stem cell research, which is not the case.
She said the measure would "criminalize and impose civil penalties for some existing research, therapies and cures."
The decision was a was a big victory for the group Cures Without Cloning and its efforts to present Missouri voters with a clean vote to ban human cloning.
However, the group indicated it would now not likely be able to collect enough signatures to get the anti-cloning proposal on the November ballot.
While there is some satisfaction from todays decision, the deadline to submit the approximately 150,000 signatures necessary to place the measure on the November 2008 ballot is Sunday," Lori Buffa, MD, chair of the group, told LifeNews.com.
"Clearly, it has been the intent of Robin Carnahan and those who support human cloning in our state to abuse the initiative process and prohibit us from placing a true ban on human cloning on the ballot," she said.
However, Dr. Buffa promised her group would continue its educational efforts throughout the year and resubmit the initiative in November.
"Hopefully, by this time next year our vast organization of trained volunteer circulators will be collecting signatures for the 2010 election cycle," she said.
Buffa said her group was disappointed the court upheld the prediction that the amendment would limit patients access to stem cell cures and treatments. There is no basis for this assertion, she said.
Buffa also indicated her group is considering an appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court and pursuing relief from the Secretary of State for violation of their constitutional rights.
Meanwhile, Pam Fichter, state president of Missouri Right to Life, told LifeNews.com her group applauded the positive parts of the decision.
"We are gratified by the court’s opinion that the Secretary of State erred in suggesting that the initiative proposal would repeal the ban on human cloning," she said.
"However, this ruling is only a partial victory. We do not agree with the court’s upholding the unsubstantiated assertion that the amendment would limit access to stem cell cures and treatment."
Fichter said her organization remains committed to banning human cloning, research that destroys human embryos, and taxpayer funding of those practices.
"We support The Missouri Cures Without Cloning Initiative Campaign in their decision to resubmit the initiative in November," she said. "In the meantime, we will oppose all efforts by the legislature to fund human cloning and life-destroying research with taxpayer funding and tax credits."
Amendment 2, backed by a narrow 50-49 margin, was supposed to prohibit human cloning and allow embryonic stem cell research, but a loophole in the language opened the door for scientists to clone human beings for the sole purpose of killing them.
The ballot proposal would not overturn last year’s amendment but it seeks to close the pro-cloning loophole found in it.
Related web sites:
Missouri Cures without Cloning Initiative Campaign – https://www.mocureswithoutcloning.com
Missouri Right to Life – https://www.missourilife.org
Missourians Against Human Cloning – https://www.nocloning.org