Does the end justify the means?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Dear Editor:

What is being touted as the "Missouri Research and cures Initiative" is confusing and misleading. The details of the scientific process to create cloned human embryos for stem cell research are complicated. Those of us who are not molecular biologists can understand the facts when they are presented honestly.

Once you have read this letter, please visit the website www.nocloning.org. You can also help by sharing the truth with those you know. (Call 636-536-9877).

10 facts why you should vote No on the proposed amendment to the Missouri Constitution known as the "Missouri Stem Cell and Cures Initiative."

(1) The ballot amendment seeks to produce human cloning. Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT) is a technical term that describes the process for creating a cloned human embryo. This is the same procedure that produced "Dolly the Sheep," and some scientists want to use it to clone humans in Missouri.

(2) This amendment opens the back door to government funding of human cloning- backers of this amendment state that it doesn't require public funding. However the language of the amendment removes decisions about human cloning from the legitimate oversight of the legislature and paves the way for our tax dollars to be used for this unethical research.

(3) The amendment may lead to the exploitation of women. Human cloning research will require young women to risk their own health to supply millions of eggs. Up to 35 percent of women who submit to ovarian stimulation experience health consequences, some as serious as stroke, infertility, organ failure and even death. Sadly, the egg business is booming on college campuses across the country. "As long as profit depends on women's bodies we can be sure that the most vulnerable women will be aggressively pursued regardless of the risk to their health and happiness. In the name of science, the industry will literally have its hands inside the bodies of hundreds of millions of poor, disadvantaged women." (Family Research Council Director of Life and Women's Issues, Pia de Solenni, PhD).

(4) This amendment will take resources away from proven research. (There are two distinct areas of stem cell research.) Adult stem cell research, which includes stem cells from umbilical cord blood, placenta, bone marrow and a host of other cells, has proven to be extremely successful in treating over 65 illnesses. New medical advances using adult stem cells occur constantly. This is a source of true hope for those suffering from currently incurable diseases. Missourians Against Human Cloning champions this ethical research. Embryonic stem cell research involves the cloning of a human embryo, then destroying that embryo by extracting the stem cells. Missourians Against Human Cloning appose this unethical experimentation on human embryos.

(5) Embryonic stem cell research has provided no treatments. Ironically given all the hype, embryonic stem cell research offers No treatments or cures, and in fact has proven to produce defects such as tumors. Hence, "none of the major biotech companies in this country-none of them-are putting their money behind therapeutic cloning." (Leon Kass-former chairman, President's Council on Bioethics).

(6) The wording on the amendment is misleading. The amendment calls for a "ban on human cloning or attempted cloning." However, medical science clearly states embryos created by somatic cell nuclear transfer are human clones.

(7) This amendment creates an atmosphere of false hope; "Anyone who says new therapy is around the corner, or even a few years away, is just wrong." (Ronald McKay-National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke).

(8) Eight out of nine Missourians appose human cloning. (McLaughlin and Associates Poll, December 2005). Six neighboring states have banned human cloning-SCNT. In addition, seven countries, including France and Germany, have also banned this unethical research.

(9) Ever-changing science does not belong in the Missouri Constitution.

(10) Vote No! The end does not justify the means! Taking the life of one human being to "cure" another is not what Americans would vote for. The opposition has some powerful backing. Only by educating the voters with the truth can we hope to prevail on this fundamental issue of human dignity.

As much as proponents may deny it, this initiative would create a constitutional right to do human cloning in the state of Missouri. Human cloning does not belong in our constitution. The initiative would also prevent the legislature from restricting funding for human cloning and embryo research. "In other words, the initiative would create a right to clone and kill humans embryos, and it would require all of us to pay for it." (Robert F. Onder, MD, JD Washington University School of Medicine).

Voters should not be deceived as to the true definition of the ballot initiative especially since it will become a permanent law when added as an amendment to the Missouri Constitution, and we as tax payers will all be affected.

A concerned voter,

K. Crowe

Purdy, Missouri