.- The passage of a measure that allows embryonic stem-cell research and cloning in Missouri is a “clarion call” to all Catholics and people of goodwill to rededicate themselves to the creation of a culture of life in the state, said the archbishop of St. Louis.
In Tuesday’s mid-term elections, 51 percent of Missourians voted in favor of the Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, also known as Amendment 2. While the five-page amendment purports to ban human cloning, it allows for embryonic stem-cell research and actually encourages a type of human cloning known as somatic cell nuclear transfer.
The technique also known as “therapeutic cloning” or “research cloning” involves replacing the nucleus of an unfertilized human egg with the nucleus from a skin or nerve cell. The egg then is stimulated to grow, with researchers removing the resulting stem cells - and sacrificing the embryo in the process.
While majorities of voters in 90 of the state's 114 counties rejected the measure, 13 counties and the city of St. Louis had enough votes to pass the amendment, reported The Associated Press.
“We made great progress in helping the citizens of Missouri realize the confusion and deception of the language of Amendment 2,” said Archbishop Raymond Burke in a statement issued the day after the election. “We have failed, however, to overcome the formidable resources of its proponents. In Missouri, we have lost a significant battle for the protection of human life.”
The Catholic Church in Missouri joined a statewide grass-roots effort, which opposed the measure. It sought to highlight the benefits of ethical umbilical-cord and adult stem cell research. It pointed out the deceptive ballot language and raised questions about the methods that could be used to obtain donor eggs.
However, the grass-roots effort was outspent and outdone by a nearly $30-million campaign designed by supporters.
“The citizens of Missouri have succumbed to a false hope created by a campaign which has played on the desire of us all to help those suffering from deadly diseases and serious injuries,” the archbishop said.
“Missouri’s Amendment 2 will come to be regarded as the bellwether of human cloning, and will sadly divert attention and public funds from successful and completely ethical umbilical cord blood and adult stem-cell research,” he continued.
“It will further erode respect for all human life and for procreation as the way new human life is to come into the world.”
“Moreover, the provisions of the Amendment will make available to certain biotech companies the money of the taxpayers of Missouri for intrinsically immoral research, whether or not the research ever brings about the promised life-saving cures,” he added.