During the campaign for Amendment 2 last year Missourians were promised that this constitutional amendment would attract swarms of so-called “top notch” researchers to our state because all forms of “life-saving” stem cell research (meaning cloning/ESC research) would be protected. The eventual passage of Amendment 2, however, did not stop pro-lifers in the state. A number of legislators tried to get a cloning ban on the Missouri ballot in ’08 (sort of) and when that didn’t work we vowed to do it the hard way – through an initiative petition. Pro-life groups and politicians also fought to strip funding for any sort of human life science research in a hotly debated loan authority bill for Missouri colleges. And, in a surprising move, Stowers bedfellow, Governor Matt Blunt, appointed dedicated pro-lifer Dr. Bob Onder, who is also on the board of Missourians Against Human Cloning, to the Life Sciences Research Board. Now it appears that our pro-life efforts are paying off.
The Stowers Institute is the $2 billion research facility in Kansas City, Missouri which bears the namesake of its biggest investors, Jim and Virginia Stowers, the couple who donated 95% of the over $30 million raised for the pro-Amendment 2 campaign. Despite having a constitutional amendment guaranteeing a right to conduct human cloning/embryonic stem cell research with little to no legislative oversight, the institute claims that it’s having trouble attracting “top notch” researchers due to the “anti-embryonic stem cell research environment” and has, “suspend plans to expand or construct any new research laboratories in Missouri.” And that’s music to our ears. It’s not that we don’t want life saving stem cell research. There is plenty of non controversial stem cell research that we are not opposed to and in fact encourage them to conduct (they do some of it now, I believe).
One thing is certain, they did not consider the state’s enormous pro-life movement before setting up shop in Missouri. Their $30 million campaign to silence the issue forever has only strengthened our resolve to keep the cloning issue alive until all science in our state is guided by clear ethical boundaries that preserve the dignity of human life.