Carnahan OK’s misleading ballot language
WASHINGTON (BP) – There she goes again, pro-life advocates are saying of Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.
Carnahan announced Oct. 10 the ballot language for a potential constitutional amendment to ban the cloning of human embryos, and pro-lifers say it is erroneous and will mislead voters.
The language, as it will appear on a 2008 ballot if a petition drive achieves enough signatures, says the proposed amendment will “repeal the current ban on human cloning or attempted cloning.” It also says the measure will “criminalize and impose civil penalties for some currently allowed research, therapies and cures.”
Carnahan has turned the proposal on its head, amendment supporters say. The new amendment is not intended to rescind a ban on cloning to bring a baby to birth, they say, but to expand the prohibition to include cloning to produce an embryo for stem cell research, something permitted by last year’s barely approved Amendment 2.
“This is sheer propaganda, and it’s not even subtle,” said Cathy Ruse of the Family Research Council in a commentary for National Review Online. “Missourians deserve better than this.”
Cures Without Cloning (CWC), the organization backing the proposed amendment, may go to court over the language, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Obviously we have some concerns about it. That’s putting it mildly,” said CWC spokesman Curt Mercadante, the newspaper reported.
Mindy Mazur, Carnahan’s chief of staff, said the office is “absolutely confident that the summary language for this initiative is fair,” according to the Post-Dispatch.
Opponents of Amendment 2, which protected embryonic stem cell research, said Carnahan’s summary for that proposal in 2006 also was deceptive.
“She played this same game last year,” Ruse said. “The ballot language she issued for Amendment 2 said the measure would ban human cloning. This ignored the fact that the fine print created a constitutional right to do somatic cell nuclear transfer, which is the scientific name for cloning and is the same procedure used to clone Dolly the sheep.”
Extracting stem cells from any embryo, including a cloned one, results in the destruction of the tiny human being. Stem cells are the body’s master cells that can develop into tissues and other cells, providing hope for the treatment of numerous afflictions. Embryonic research has yet to treat any diseases in human beings and has been plagued by the development of tumors in lab animals.