In Missouri on Nov 7 they will be voting on Constitutional Amendment 2. The Initiative Petition that the voters will see says.
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to allow and set limitations on stem cell research, therapies, and cures which will:
ensure Missouri patients have access to any therapies and cures, and allow Missouri researchers to conduct any research, permitted under federal law;
ban human cloning or attempted cloning;
require expert medical and public oversight and annual reports on the nature and purpose of stem cell research;
impose criminal and civil penalties for any violations; and
prohibit state or local governments from preventing or discouraging lawful stem cell research, therapies and cures?
The proposed constitutional amendment would have an estimated annual fiscal impact on state and local governments of $0-$68,916.
This wording of this amendment is unbelievably deceptive. It makes it sound like it is anti-cloning when it is nothing of the kind. The amendment would actually protect cloning via Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT) for research. Somehow I guess if you use the scientific term for a cloning method that somehow it is not cloning. What the amendment would actually do is require that and cloned embryos be killed within a specific time period.
The Missouri Catholic Conference has been very strong on this issue with all four of their bishops speaking out on the subject. Their site is also chock full of information. They recently release a letter on Respect Life Sunday that said in part:
On this coming November 7, Missourians will be asked to vote on an amendment to enshrine in our State Constitution a right to clone and kill human life for the sake of supposed medical advancement. At first glance, the wording of Amendment 2 may sound like something good. It even appears to be a ban on cloning in Missouri. But the wording is deceptive. In fact, Amendment 2 creates a constitutional right for researchers to engage in human cloning for purposes of research. It also leads to the exploitation of women. Human cloning for research requires women to risk their own health in supplying the eggs necessary for generating cloned human embryos. The artificial ovarian stimulation needed to make women produce the many needed eggs can lead to stroke, infertility, organ failure and even death. The women involved are used as a mere commodity, as a means to advance someone else’s speculations about “progress.” Finally, this amendment would take resources away from proven research. Adult stem-cell research—including stem cells from umbilical cord blood, placenta and bone marrow – has shown itself to be extremely successful in treating dozens of human illnesses, and shows promise even for conditions such as spinal cord damage, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. These cells can be obtained without any harm to the donor and without any violation of the moral law. Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in Saint Louis, for instance, has the second largest umbilical cord blood bank in the world.
What most people miss is that even IF (big IF) embryonic stem cell were to result in successfully treating some disease, for EACH patient treated a number of clones of that person would have to be made to extract the cells. Otherwise the patient would reject them.
I’m confused. I thought SCNT was the process of obtaining the nucleus (or, the stuff the scientist’s want) from UNfertilized ovum. A practice which does not destroy a human being. NOT the obtaining of cells from a fertilized egg (brand new human being), which is detestable.
I thought I had read/heard about this type of research which pretty much shuts down the arguments of the pro-destruction of embryo folk because they are getting the much overly-hyped undifferentiated cells that they think will cure everything without embryonic destruction because one is not created.
The ethical issues in this practice revolve around the obtaining of these eggs. Researchers in Japan, for instance, were able to obtain these cells from menstruating women, when a woman is normally shedding an unfertilized egg. Others from organ donation. It has the potential to become unethical if researchers obtain these eggs from women via hormone injections and then operations to retrieve the eggs, particularly for women who are poor.
Do I have my information wrong? I’d appreciate someone clearing it up if I am. Thank you.
SCNT is the same process that Dolly the sheep was created. It is cloning. There have been some methods such as you describe that have been supported by some orthodox Catholics, but nobody is currently pursuing any of those. Clone and kill with SCNT is the dominant method.
…And we have to keep repeating this to people, over and over. Many folks who aren’t too concerned about some anonymous, “leftover” embryo being used to treat a disease get a little more queasy when they find out they, themselves, actually need to cooperate in creating tiny new copies of themselves…
Thank you, Jeff & Margaret. I thought that there was a type of research being persued that did not cause the destruction of embryos, or as I like to call them, brand new people! I just cannot remember the name of it — it does not seem to get much publicity.
I really am trying to educate myself on this and it’s difficult because entities have become quite skillful at using language that tries to call human beings everything BUT humans. Egg + Sperm = New Person! Not, “when the fertilized egg becomes nitted,” not “eight weeks, not “when the embryo becomes viable,” or whenever we fancy!
And Margaret, that’s an additional grotesque facet that I hope may prompt others to rethink the issue. I frankly shudder at the callousness others have towards the thought that an anonymous new person would be just dandy to create, destroy and use. Whatever happened to empathy??