Missouri Pro-Life Group Upset at Secretary of State’s Amendment Ballot Language

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 1, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Missouri Pro-Life Group Upset at Secretary of State’s Amendment Ballot Language

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 1
, 2009

Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — A Missouri pro-life group is upset at the language pro-abortion Secretary of State Robin Carnahan has put forward on a state constitutional amendment to ban the use of tax funding of abortion and problematic bioethics practices like human cloning and embryonic stem cell research.

Missouri Roundtable for Life, which is behind the amendment, says the language is biased and could persuade some voters to oppose the proposal because it is not written fairly.

Todd Jones, the director of the group, says Carnahan has “unnecessarily politicized” the ballot language that will appear before voters in November 2010.

“We submitted a very short, clear amendment of only 44 words because we wanted to give voters a clear amendment that stopped taxpayer dollars from going to abortion, cloning and other prohibited research,” Jones said in a statement LifeNews.com received.

“Ms. Carnahan has re-written our amendment into a 128-word ballot title and has created the false impression of what that amendment does," he added.

The language Carnahan proposed Thursday says the amendment would "make it illegal for the Legislature or state or local governments to expend, pay or grant public funds to hospitals or other institutions for certain research and services … such as abortion services, including those necessary to save the life of the mother, and certain types of stem cell research currently allowed under Missouri law."

“This proposal could have a significant negative fiscal impact on state and local governmental entities by prohibiting the use of public funds for certain research activities," the description, which sounds like an argument against the ballot measure, says further.

"Federal grants to state governmental entities for research and medical assistance programs may be in jeopardy. The total costs to state and local governmental entities are unknown," it adds negatively.

Jones said in the statement that his group may consider filing a suit against the ballot language saying it is biased against the amendment.

“We appeal to (Carnahan) to reconsider and rescind this ballot language; if she will not, we will consider all our options, including going to court to fight her," he said.

Backers of the amendment have to get signatures from registered Missouri voters to get the pro-life measure on the ballot. The amount of signatures is equal to eight percent of the total votes cast in the 2008 governor’s election from six of the state’s nine congressional districts.

The amendment is partially a response to Amendment 2 that voters very narrowly approved in 2006 that allows human cloning and embryonic stem cell research.

There is some concern that the amendment could trump current state laws against funding such practices and that concern prompted the group to sponsor the new amendment.

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