National Right to Life News
Deceptive Cloning Initiative on November Ballot in Missouri [Vote NO]
BY Liz Townsend
Voters in Missouri will decide November 7 whether to amend the state
constitution by adopting the so-called "Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures
Initiative." Proponents insist the measure is about "stem cell research" when,
in fact, the initiative would allow researchers not only to lethally extract
stem cells from human embryos but also "clone and kill" embryos at will.
In addition, Section 5 of the four-page-long initiative "prohibits state and
local governments from withholding state funds from cloners if their
institutions are eligible to receive public funds for purposes other than
stem-cell-related activities," said James Cole, Missouri Right to Life general
counsel. "Under the initiative, if an institution is eligible for state
funds--whatever the program, be it education, health, economic development, or
whatever--the legislature cannot prevent the institution from receiving state
funds for cloning and taking stem cells from the unborn."
The initiative is strongly supported by pro-abortion state Auditor Claire
McCaskill (D), who is running against pro-life incumbent Sen. James Talent (R).
McCaskill is supported by EMILY's List, a wealthy political action committee
that supports only pro-abortion female candidates who promise to oppose any
limitations on abortion.
Sen. Talent said he "cannot support the initiative because I've always been
opposed to human cloning and this measure would make cloning embryos a
constitutional right--without regard to medical necessity or changing
The campaign for the embryonic stem cell initiative has been funded almost
exclusively by James and Virginia Stowers and their Stowers Institute for
Medical Research in Kansas City, according to the Associated Press (AP). The
Stowers had already contributed $9.5 million by May 17, including $4 million
that was spent to collect signatures to get the initiative on the ballot, the AP
The institute conducts stem cell research, and announced plans for expansion if
the initiative passes, according to the Kansas City Star. "Missourians are not
going to be deceived by them saying, 'We will build if, we'll put our money into
Missouri if you vote to kill human life and kill human embryos,'" Sue Klein,
Missouri Right to Life legislative liaison, told the Star. "Missourians will see
that for what it is."
The description of the proposed constitutional amendment that will be on the
ballot states that the initiative will "allow and set limitations on stem cell
research, therapies, and cures" and "ban human cloning." However, a close
reading of the actual amendment language shows a much different agenda.
Although it states that "No person may clone or attempt to clone a human being,"
the definition specifies that cloning means "to implant in a uterus or attempt
to implant in a uterus anything other than the product of fertilization of an
egg of a human female by a sperm of a human male for the purpose of initiating a
pregnancy that could result in the creation of a human fetus, or the birth of a
The qualifying words make the claim of a "cloning ban" meaningless. "It is not
the process of cloning that is prohibited, but the process of implanting," said
Cole. "It would not be illegal to create a clone; it would only be illegal to
keep a clone alive by allowing him or her to be implanted in a mother's womb."
And since the language specifies that only implantation in a "uterus" is banned,
a cloned embryo could conceivably be grown in an artificial womb and killed for
research without violating the law, Cole explained.
Another section in the proposed amendment declares that no "state or local law,
regulation, rule, charter, ordinance, or other governmental action" can
"prevent, restrict, obstruct, or discourage any stem cell research" or "create
disincentives for any person to engage in or otherwise associate with such
research or therapies and cures."
"This gives researchers and businesses that use therapies from embryonic stem
cells immunity from lawsuits," Cole said. "In other words, the cloning and
biotech industry would have no liability under state law for the injuries that
may be caused by stem cell therapies that have harmful side effects or are
The amendment also purports to protect women by banning the purchase or sale
"for valuable consideration" of their eggs or embryos. Again, the definitions
provide the true meaning of the section. "Valuable consideration" is defined as
financial gain "but does not include reimbursement for reasonable costs" or any
money paid by fertility clinics to the women.
"The loophole that this exclusion opens is so wide that a truck can drive
through," said Cole. "It will lead to the exploitation of women for their eggs.
The cloners may enter into supply contracts for human eggs with IVF clinics, so
that the clinics will advertise to buy women's eggs even more aggressively than
they do now and then resell them to the cloners."
Pro-lifers have begun an intense campaign to bring to truth about the initiative
to Missouri voters. Rallies and educational events are being held across the
state by Missouri Right to Life chapters, religious groups, and coalitions
formed to fight the proposed constitutional amendment.
The initiative is "an attack on the natural moral law which God has written upon
our hearts," said Catholic Archbishop Raymond L. Burke at an August 28 rally,
according to the St. Louis Review. "He teaches us to safeguard and defend and
foster human life from the moment of its inception to the moment of its natural
death. [The initiative] denies the fundamental right to life to a whole class of
human beings on the basis of their size and inability to defend themselves."
For more information on the anti-life provisions of the initiative, see Missouri
Right to Life's web site at
More on Missouri Amendment 2