Missouri Judge Says Amendment 2 Would Trump Law Banning ESCR Funding
by Steven Ertelt
December 31, 2008
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — A Missouri judge issued a new ruling on Tuesday saying that Amendment 2 would trump state law prohibiting taxpayer funding of human cloning and embryonic stem cell research. The amendment is the measure Missouri voters very narrowly approved in 2006.
Missouri Roundtable for Life filed a lawsuit seeking to block $21 million in public funds from going to the Life Sciences Research Board for grants for the controversial science.
The law that created the Life Sciences Research Trust Fund, which sends the money to the board, specifically prohibits the funding. However, Cole County Judge Richard Callahan said Tuesday that the state constitutional amendment appears to trump the law.
The board plans to disburse the funds early next year for the stem cell research grants it is considering funding. Pro-life groups don’t want to see money go to scientists who are destroying human beings in research that kills them for their stem cells.
In July, Callahan denied a request from pro-life advocates to temporarily stop the funds from going to the board for 15 days.
Fred N. Sauer, a founder of the Missouri Roundtable for Life and a plaintiff in the case, had appealed a prior decision Callahan issued dismissing the lawsuit.
Callahan had said his court can’t block the funding because there is no legal dispute. He also ruled that the lawsuit is merely requesting an advisory opinion.
The determination is important because Judge Callahan’s ruling makes it appear that the Missouri Roundtable for Life’s proposed statewide amendment is more necessary.
The group spearheading an effort to get a ballot proposal before voters when they head to the polls in the 2010 Congressional elections.
The group’s initiative goes further than the goal Missouri Right to Life has of overturning Amendment 2, although the reversal of the amendment could strengthen the position of existing state law.
Missouri Roundtable for Life initially filed the lawsuit in June and pro-life attorney Ed Martin said the Amendment 2 that state voters narrowly adopted in 2006 makes it difficult to know if any limits can be put in place on where public funds go and if they can be used for embryonic stem cell research.
The organization says it wants to protect public funds from being spent in ways that conflict with existing Missouri law and with the will of the Missouri legislature.
We are asking the Court to answer two very simple questions," Sauer explains.
First, do the prohibitions on the use of public funds for abortion services, human cloning, and prohibited human research that are part of the Life Sciences Trust Fund law still apply after the voters passed Amendment 2 in 2006?" he asked.
"And, second, does Amendment 2 limit the appropriation authority of the legislature by requiring that any institution that does certain research never have its state appropriation reduced in subsequent years? he added.
The Life Sciences Trust fund includes specific funding prohibitions imposed by law at its formation in 2003; specifically, there are prohibitions against the use of public funds from the Fund for abortion services, human cloning, and prohibited human research.
Related web sites:
Missouri Roundtable for Life – https://www.moroundtable.org
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