No word yet on Cures court date
JEFFERSON CITY—As Thanksgiving rolled into the Christmas season with no word on a court date from the Cole County Circuit Court concerning a challenge to ballot summary language crafted by Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan that is allegedly constitutionally biased against Cures Without Cloning, the focus for Missourians was stayed on clear communication.
Jaci Winship, executive director of Missourians Against Human Cloning (MAHC), was monitoring the activity of the court in early December and was positioned to deliver any news pertaining to an actual court date in 2007. Prayerful Missouri Baptists ought to trust her to keep on top of the situation, said Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Interim Executive Director David Tolliver.
“I encourage all Missouri Baptists to pray for Christian Life Commission Chairman Phil Gloyer as we work together with Jaci Winship and Cures Without Cloning to ban human cloning in Missouri,” Tolliver said. “Pray also for Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, that she will see the wisdom of allowing the citizens of Missouri to decide the cloning issue.”
The complaint by Cures Without Cloning, a broad-based coalition led by doctors, medical community professionals, scientists and researchers who are for saving life no matter the size, was filed Oct. 19. It has been assigned to Judge Patricia Joyce.
The ballot summary 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,” Baptist Press reported. It also says the measure will “criminalize and impose civil penalties for some currently allowed research, therapies and cures,” Baptist Press reported.
But the new amendment is not intended to rescind a ban on cloning to bring a baby to birth, supporters say (also as reported by Baptist Press). Rather, it is designed 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, Baptist Press reported.
There are five alleged violations of the Missouri Constitution. These have been reported in a previous edition of The Pathway under Count IV of the complaint and are also available at www.nocloning.org, the official website of MAHC.
The summary statement language submitted to Carnahan is as follows: “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to: prohibit human cloning that is conducted by creating a human embryo at any stage, from the one-cell stage onward; prohibit expenditure of taxpayer dollars on human cloning, or on research or experimentation using a human embryo or any part of a human embryo derived from human cloning; and allow stem cell research for therapies and cures that complies with these prohibitions and the prohibitions of Section 38(d) of the Constitution?”
The summary statement that Carnahan actually wrote is as follows: “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to repeal the current ban on human cloning or attempted cloning and to limit Missouri patients’ access to stem cell research, therapies and cures approved by voters in November 2006 by: redefining the ban on human cloning or attempted cloning to criminalize and impose civil penalties for some currently allowed research, therapies and cures; and prohibiting hospitals or other institutions from using public funds to conduct such research?”
Meanwhile, on Nov. 20 there was a major breakthrough in scientific research that seems to favor pro-life advocates. Scientists made ordinary human skin cells take on the chameleon-like powers of embryonic cells, a startling breakthrough also known as “reprogramming” that might someday deliver the medical payoffs of embryo cloning without the controversy, the Associated Press reported. The Los Angeles Times called it “a discovery that provides a road map for creating personalized biological repair kits without ethical strings attached.” The Wall Street Journal Online called the technique “easier, cheaper” and potentially “more ethically appealing.”
The final impact of this discovery made by researchers in Wisconsin, Japan and Oregon may turn out to be monumental.
“This puts a stake through the heart of therapeutic cloning,” wrote Wesley J. Smith, an award-winning author and lawyer from the San Francisco Bay area who relentlessly blogs on the human cloning issue through “Second Hand Smoke.”
The editorial board of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which has written dozens of pro-therapeutic cloning editorials, disagreed with Smith, noting that organs and tissue produced with the technique of the scientists in Wisconsin and Japan seem likely to become cancerous. But the scientist who runs the laboratory at the University of Wisconsin that in 1998 sparked the current controversy, James A. Thomson, seemed to line up more with Smith when he told the New York Times, “A decade from now, this will be just a funny historical footnote.”