Consider Missouri’s anti-science activists: whatever else you might like to say about them, you’ve got to admit they’re tenacious buggers. We just passed a constitutional amendment legalizing stem cell research in this state, but they’re trying to upend it. Their attempt to do so in the legislature went nowhere, so now they’re going to try a ballot initiative.
If they get the necessary signatures (eight percent of the voters in 2/3 of the congressional districts), we get to waste energy and money fending off these medievalists one more time. No, the sun doesn’t revolve around the earth, and no, transplanting some cells into an unfertilized egg isn’t tantamount to cloning Dolly or–gasp!–a human being.
Stopping them shouldn’t be all that difficult. We covered all this territory last year when Missouri voters approved a constitutional amendment preserving the right of scientists to perform any kind of stem cell research here that is legal under federal law. In fact, the amendment specifically bans cloning.
It’s not easy to say what the anti-science, anti-cures people actually hope to ban. The ballot language is vague. Its proponents focus on the cloning issue.
Dr. Lori Buffa, of St. Peters, Missouri, filed proposed ballot language with the Secretary of State’s office….
“The Missouri Constitution currently allows for human cloning. It allows for the same cloning method that created Dolly the Sheep,” said Buffa, who serves as chair of CWC. “This initiative will ensure this dangerous, unproven, unnecessary practice is prohibited, and allow us to focus on safe research that leads to lifesaving cures and treatments.”
I would say “Knock yourself out, since cloning is already illegal.” (And I would add that adult stem cells are a puny substitute for embronic stem cells.) But who knows how these wingnuts would choose to interpret their own vague language if they got their amendment passed? So we can’t just ignore them. But you needn’t fret much.
Last year, proponents of amendment two and the voters of Missouri passed it by splitting the Republicans. We couldn’t have succeeded without the support of the Republican business community. In fact, their backing created a rift in the Missouri GOP, and Matt Blunt, forced to choose sides, went with the moneyed interests.
The governor must be cursing and sweating now that his own side has put him in the same odious spotlight that we shined on him last year–and just when he was getting some fences mended. (He recently denied MOSTEALA funds to two Missouri universities, on the off chance that the science buildings that money would have funded might have been used for stem cell research.)
Blunt’s maneuver went for nought, though. His gesture to placate social conservatives will be forgotten in the coming clash. His spokeshole is avoiding saying the obvious:
Jessica Robinson, a spokeswoman for Blunt, did not say specifically to Post-Dispatch reporter Matt Franck whether Blunt would oppose the petition effort. But she did note that he has been firm in his support of somatic cell nuclear transfer.
“His position on this is well known, so you can draw your own conclusions,” she said.
Apparently, they’re not going to have the governor this time around either.
You anti-cures people are surely batting your heads against a wall on this one. Having fun, are you? Let me just remind you that all those ladies with granddaughters suffering from diabetes aren’t going to vote your way, even if they do attend church.
Meantime, you’re deepening the rift and hurting Blunt’s chances. Maybe I shouldn’t be complaining that–shades of concealed carry!–you’re trying to undermine the will of the voters again. Maybe what you’ll undermine is your own party.