Missouri House Defeats Pro-Life Limits on Embryonic Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 23, 2011   |   5:01PM   |   Jefferson City, MO

The Missouri state House defeated an amendment supported by Missouri Right to life that would have put pro-life limits on embryonic stem cell research and human cloning in the Missouri Science Innovation & Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA).

Earlier, the Missouri Senate disappointed pro-life advocates when it passed the bill without adequate pro-life protections. Today, the Missouri House followed the Missouri Senate in supporting public funding of human cloning and embryonic stem cell research by supporting the Senate version of the Missouri Science Innovation and Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA).

The state House voted 94-48, with 17 legislators absent, for the legislation. Prior to the vote on SB 7, the House rejected a pro-life amendment supported by Missouri Right to Life preventing unethical research by a vote of 68 yes, 74 no, with 17 legislators not voting.

Pam Fichter, the president of the pro-life organization, talked about the day’s events.

“MOSIRA sets up a fund, channeled through the state budget, to be administered by the pro-cloning Missouri Technology Corporation, to provide state money and/or tax incentives for new technology businesses, including businesses engaged in human life sciences research,” Fichter explained. “This legislation gives to the cloning industry the funding they sought with their deceitful $30 million campaign for Amendment 2 which narrowly passed in 2006 largely because voters believed they were actually banning human cloning with their support.”

Fichter told LifeNews, “In spite of the promise of those who funded the pro-Amendment 2 battle that they were not seeking public funding, their efforts to receive that funding have been relentless. Missouri Right to Life and a minority of legislators stood opposed to their efforts today.”

Representative Randy Asbury (R-22) introduced the pro-life amendment and received floor support from  Reps. Stanley Cox (R-118),  Melissa Leach (R-137), Ed Schieffer (D-11), Linda Black (D-107), Nick Marshall (R-30), Wayne Wallingford (R-158),  Bart Korman (R-99),  John Cauthorn (R-21), and John McCaherty (R-90).

Representatives from both parties spoke against the pro-life amendment, including Representatives Anne Zerr (R-18),  Ryan Silvey (R-38), Chris Kelly (D-24), Mike McGhee (R-122), Thomas Long (R-134) and Speaker-elect Tim Jones (R-89).

“The votes on SB 7 show Missouri pro-life citizens which legislators are willing to be consistent in their pro-life principles and to stand up to the powerful pro-cloning lobby and those who do their bidding in the Missouri Capitol,” Fichter said. “SB 7 now moves to Governor Nixon’s desk for approval.  It was a sad day for Missouri pro-lifers, yet those who stood for life will always be victorious.”

The pro-life group sent a letter on July 1 to Governor Nixon and all state legislators expressing its concerns and suggesting pro-life protective language for MOSIRA.

“This fund is the vehicle through which certain Missouri businesses can invest money through the state budget process to set up business incubators, mainly through the university systems, to receive tax credits and/or incentives from the state. Because these monies pass through the state budget, they become public money and should have pro-life protections ensuring that the State of Missouri does not provide incentives for abortion, human cloning or embryonic stem cell research,” MRL said in the letter.

“Missouri Right to Life opposes any economic development legislation that includes only a reporting requirement for this life-destroying research. The public officials of the State of Missouri should be very clear in stating that the economic well-being of Missouri is not built on research that destroys innocent human lives through abortion services, human cloning or embryonic stem cell research. Public dollars, whether direct appropriations, tax credits or tax incentives for abortion services, human cloning or embryonic stem cell research, should be explicitly prohibited, not just reported after innocent human beings have been killed during research,” it continued.

The organization said it would oppose any economic development legislation without the protective language in place.

Anyone wanting to know the full vote list on the bill and amendment can go to https://www.missourilife.org.