I find it amazing that, in a state which guarantees researchers a constitutional right to conduct ESC research and create and destroy human embryos for scientific research, supporters of such research can still find something to complain about. The NY Times ran this article last week about how the cloning amendment passed last year has changed very little in the area of life sciences in Missouri. Besides the lack of state funds, their other major grievance is that the darn opposition just won’t lay off. Last session, not even a year after the constitutional amendment passed, Rep. Jim Lembke attempted to pass a resolution to get a real cloning ban in front of Missouri voters in 2008. The resolution went nowhere, but it was an attempt the pro-cloners were not expecting and were not happy with.
If the pro-cloners are frightened of pro-life opposition in Missouri, they have very good reason to be. And if they’re not, they should be. When Missouri pro-lifers get serious, big things can happen. In 1999 pro-life Democrats (yes, they do exist) listened to the cry of the pro-life citizens who put them in the majority, and, wishing to stay in office, stood up to their pro-choice Democrat Governor (the late Mel Carnahan) and sent him a ban on partial birth abortion. Then they came back and overrode the governor’s veto. The House’s veto override took place during the largest pro-life rally the Capitol has ever seen (5 to 7 thousand red-clad pro-lifers were in attendance). If that doesn’t show the tremendous impact of Missouri’s pro-life movement, I don’t know what does. Except, perhaps the unbelievable headway we made against Amendment 2 last year. Instead of maintaining even a comfortable majority, cloners were shocked by a slim margin of 51 percent to 49 percent, with 97 of the state’s 114 counties voting against the amendment – an amazing accomplishment when you consider the deceptive nature of the supporters’ campaign and the fact that we were outspent by tens of millions of dollars.
How did we do it? The majority, if not all, of our success can only be attributed to the grace of the Holy Spirit which armed us with one simple thing – truth. Post election studies revealed that the main message that helped convert amendment supporters was cloning. Pro-lifers didn’t run around the state talking about religion and citing Scripture passages, though faith and traditional moral values were the driving force behind the anti-A2 campaign. We brought in scientists, doctors and other medical professionals to explain to the public the science behind human cloning and how it was being redefined by the other side. The more the people heard the truth about human cloning the more the pendulum would swing in our direction – no wonder the cloners tried to change its definition.
So now, with Lembke’s cloning resolution defeated in the legislature, the ball to give voters a real cloning ban is now in the people’s court and we’re ready to play. Sorry, cloners, defeat is just not in our vocabulary. This is certain, the passage of amendment 2 strengthened the resolve of the pro-life lobby in Missouri and for that we probably owe it a debt of gratitude. The cloners are finally starting to realize, much like the Democrats did in ’99, that Missouri really is a pro-life state – I’d be scared, too, if I were them.
Personal, non-relevant, factoid: the 1999 pro-life rally and House override was held on Sept. 15 – my 17th birthday. I am ashamed to say that I was not in attendance, nor did I know it was even going on – I was in my own little world at the time.