Cloners continue campaign of trickery
JEFFERSON CITY – Pro-life Missouri Baptists have been consistently stating this year that the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, which is promoting a newly certified constitutional amendment on embryonic stem cell research (cloning), is deceiving the general public by peddling phrases that are laden with linguistic trickery.
One of the more succinct statements to that effect was made by Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Legal Counsel Michael Whitehead, who is a board member for Missourians Against Human Cloning (MAHC).
“The initiative says it will ban human cloning,” Whitehead said. “The opposite is true. It expressly protects cloning of human embryos, but only bans implantation in the womb.”
Proponents of the initiative, which was certified Aug. 8 to be placed on the Nov. 7 statewide ballot, like to point out that their ballot title phrase “shall ban human cloning” has been approved by the Missouri judicial system. Opponents of the initiative state that it permits research cloning but prohibits reproductive cloning. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch acknowledged the difference in the language that is being used by both sides in an Aug. 6 article that mentioned the initiative will likely pass or fail based on whether Missourians view a mass of cells in a Petri dish as a cure for a disease or a human embryo worthy of protection.
“The initiative permits somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), which is a type of cloning, but prohibits implanting the cloned embryo in the woman’s uterus,” said David Krueger, pastor, First Baptist Church, Linn. “In other words, the initiative simply redefines cloning.”
The constitutional amendment, which is nearly 2,000 words in length, is filled with tortured legalese, according to MAHC Executive Director Jaci Winship. The words are deliberately muddling.
“They continue to use deception because it’s all they have going for them,” she said. “Not only have they created their own definition for cloning, but even within the initiative itself, the language is colored by deception. Their own initiative has redefinitions—new definitions that they created. You cannot ignore them. They are right there in front of you.”
Proponents of the initiative, who may soon reach the $20 million mark in fundraising for their campaign, prefer to talk about “early stem cell research” in their literature and advertising. Opponents of the initiative properly point out that the more accurate terms within the scientific community are “therapeutic cloning,” or the even more appropriate “embryonic stem cell research.” Occasionally the mainstream press manages to reflect this in its reporting, although it mostly shows up in media outlets that are located outside of Missouri.
For example, a June 7 Boston Globe article touted Harvard’s effort to “create the world’s first cloned human embryonic stem cells.” The Wall Street Journal also reported that “researchers at Harvard University said they are beginning experiments to clone human embryos for making stem cells.” By contrast, the Post-Dispatch in the opening of its Aug. 6 article used the phrase “stem cell research,” with no reference to cloning.
Gov. Matt Blunt is one of the more high-profile Missourians who has stated repeatedly—and erroneously—that SCNT is not cloning. But the Boston Globe in its June 7 article published this sentence: “Cloning, also called somatic cell nuclear transfer, would allow new types of experiments by creating embryonic stem cells that have the same DNA as a patient with a particular disease.” The Missouri Associated Press has followed suit of late, reporting in an Aug. 3 article that “embryonic stem cell research” is connected to “a cloning procedure known as somatic cell nuclear transfer.”
The Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, whose founders have contributed $15.2 million of the $16 million amassed so far to promote the passage of the initiative, is linked to the Harvard cloning movement. Jim and Virginia Stowers, founders of the institute, sent nearly $11 million in support of leading scientists Kevin Eggan, a Harvard biologist, and Chad Cowan, a regenerative medicine specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital, the Kansas City Star reported.
The hope among proponents of the initiative is that the phrase “Missouri cloning” would one day be as lawful, trendy and accepted as the phrase “Harvard cloning.” Many suspect that their ultimate aim is for taxpayers to fund their controversial experiments.
“In the end, a very few people with enormous resources have concocted this scheme because they could never achieve their goals in an open, honest, straightforward discussion,” wrote the members of Missouri Roundtable for Life at the end of a 16-page document dissecting the deceptive language of the initiative word by word.
“They are attempting to buy a constitutional amendment whose provisions are completely detrimental to the citizens of Missouri, who have expressed their respect for human beings and human life through the legitimate processes of legislative government over a long period of time. The proponents know that if they call their work by its true name—cloning—the citizens of Missouri will reject it.”