South Dakota Group Opposes Measure for Human Cloning, Embryonic Research
by Steven Ertelt
November 12, 2009
Pierre, SD (LifeNews.com) — A new grassroots organization has sprung up that would urge voters to reject a statewide ballot measure next year that would force taxpayers to pay for embryonic stem cell research and human cloning. That is the research that has yet to provide any cures for patients and has had problems in animal studies.
Currently, adult stem cell research is allowed by state law while embryonic stem cell research and cloning are prohibited — which the measure would overturn.
Former state Treasurer David Volk of Sioux Falls, who is a cancer survivor, says he doesn’t like the current state restrictions against funding the controversial research.
He has created a new group called South Dakotans for Lifesaving Cures that will file papers with the Secretary of State for the ballot measure. The group needs to obtain 16,776 valid signatures by April 6 to get the measure on the November 2010 ballot.
If that happens, the new Coalition for Cures Not Cloning — led by Dr. Mick Vanden Bosch, Republican state legislator Manny Steele and former Democratic state legislator Mary Glenski — will be there to oppose it.
Glenski says, I voted for the current cloning ban in the state legislature as part of an overwhelming bi-partisan majority with only one legislator voting against it.
And Steele added that the measure "does not strengthen the current cloning ban, it weakens the ban. I urge citizens to refuse to sign the petition to get the measure on the statewide ballot.
The Family Policy Council is also involved and its president, Chris Hupke, told LifeNews.com the proposed measure would drive a Texas-sized loop hole in South Dakotas current cloning ban that was passed in 2004. Make no mistake, this measure uses sleight of hand to rewrite the definition of cloning.
"The proposed initiated measure would result in research dollars being diverted from current adult stem cell research that is yielding results and curing patients," the new group says. "Embryonic stem cell research has yielded no cures, and in countries where it has been tried has yielded no positive results."
Bosch, an ophthalmologist, also chimed in with opposition.
"As a board certified physician, I can tell you that regardless of what others say, this initiated measure allows what is medically defined as cloning," he explained. "As a doctor, I want to invest in responsible science that works and has developed cures for over seventy three diseases."
"If this measure passes, research dollars currently in effective research could be redirected to areas that have not yielded any positive results in countries where they have been tried," he added. "I don’t want my patients to not have access to cures they need because research dollars have been re-directed to unproductive areas.
According to the South Dakota Secretary of State, once on the ballot, there is a thirty six percent success rate in passing initiated measures.
The ballot measure would again put pro-life issues before voters a third time after pro-life advocates tried twice to get state residents to ban most abortions.
South Dakota voters defeated Initiated Measure 11 by a 55-45 percentage point margin.
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