On Monday, a woman came by the Cassville Democrat office and requested a copy of the newspaper containing the state amendments and propositions that will appear on the Nov. 7 election ballot. This woman said she was going to read each amendment and proposition carefully before casting a ballot in next Tuesday's election. I told her that I wished each voter would follow her example and take the time to read all election information available. It's easy to let others form your opinions for you, but much better, to get the facts yourself and make up your own mind.
One amendment that is receiving national attention is Amendment 2, which would change Missouri constitution pertaining to issues of stem cell research. Those fighting the amendment and those championing it have presented impassioned arguments. I have read a lot of literature that has been circulated by those falling on both sides of the issue.
After careful deliberation, I have chosen to vote against Amendment 2. My reasons for doing so are straight forward, but again that is my opinion. Let me also state that I truly understand those who are stricken with terminal diseases and those who care for loved ones who are slowly losing their battle against Parkinson's and MS and Alzheimer's. I too pray for a cure, but I do not believe Amendment 2 is necessary to finding one.
First of all, I do not think the Missouri Constitution should be changed for the sake of advancing medical science that is constantly changing. I also believe the language contained in Amendment 2 is confusing and deceiving. I do not believe the proposed change to the Constitution actually bans human cloning, instead I believe it actually would protect the practice.
When human life begins is a subject of continual discussion and disagreement. Because I believe human life begins at conception, the idea of creating an embryo and then destroying it for the sake of research is the same thing as taking a life. For me, the end does not justify the means and this process should not become something protected by Constitutional law.
I do not oppose all stem cell research but I do oppose the cloning and creation of human embryos for the purpose of research and I oppose changing our Constitution to protect a scientific unknown. Although proponents of Amendment 2 claim this type of research will produce miraculous cures, so far those claims are unproven. So far, it is adult stem research, which we support, that is showing promise. Currently, very little embryonic stem cell research is being conducted in the State of Missouri. At this stage, it seems premature to give the research procedure Constitutional protection when the science is still so new.
I realize this is a very touchy subject with people who fall on both sides of the issue. I respect both perspectives, but as an individual, I have chosen to vote against Amendment 2. It is my hope that this editorial will raise enough questions in our readers' minds that they will research the amendment for themselves and draw their own conclusions. And above all, we urge our readers to practice their right to vote next Tuesday, Nov. 7.