Sen. Matt Bartle of Lee’s Summit and Rep. Jim Lembke of St. Louis, toured the state today promoting their joint resolution to ban all human cloning in the state of Missouri. The idea of the initiative is to put before Missouri voters a “short, simple and straightforward” ban on all human cloning that would close the massive loophole left in Amendment 2. The Amendment claimed to ban human cloning, while allowing the creation of embryos through somatic cell nuclear transfer (the scientific term for cloning) for the purpose of destroying them for their stem cells. I was present at the press conference in Jefferson City this morning. The media was as biased and vicious as ever in their questioning and of course some representatives from the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures (sponsors of Amendment 2) were on hand to offer their comments to the media afterward. They made the arguments as always, that cloning research is needed to save millions of lives and that supporters of this new initiative are trying to turn back the clock on life saving scientific research. Nevermind the fact that this research has yet to produce the desired results despite decades of work in animal trials.
I stuck around and one reporter did come to interview me and I gladly gave them my pitch that, not only is SCNT the creation of embryonic human life and that the use of this technology for research or reproductive purposes should be banned (something amendment 2 claimed to accomplish, but didn’t), but it is completely unneccesary given the tremendous success of adult stem cells. Because so many people are fed, and believe, the lie that those of us who oppose research that creates and destroys human embryos are trying to restrict science and limit access to cures, I now also make it a point when I speak about this to point out that by opposing this research, we are promoting productive stem cell research that is already available to patients.
Well, I support Sen. Bartle and Rep. Lembke and will no doubt be working hard to lobby the legislature to pass this resolution and put the issue before voters in 2008. It will be a vicious battle, but I’m ready for it!
For info on reasons why embryonic stem cells have not been working see Maureen Condic’s article at First Things:What We Know About Embryonic Stem Cells