On November 7, voters in Missouri will be asked to amend their state constitution to protect all forms of stem cell research that are legal under federal law. What has triggered a big debate is whether human cloning would be allowed or prohibited under this measure.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue addressed this issue today:

“When whites were given a literacy test as a requisite for voting in parts of the South 50 years ago, they were asked such questions as, ‘Who was the first president of the U.S.?’ By contrast, blacks were asked to cite verbatim the Preamble to the Constitution. Now we have the same kind of vile trickery being played in the 21st century, only this time the victims are the voters in Missouri: stealth and wealth have corrupted the democratic process.

“The 100-word initiative is not merely a summary of a 2,000 word statement—it collapses the truth along with the verbiage. The initiative says that ‘No person may clone or attempt to clone a human being.’ But when the fine print is read, it actually allows for therapeutic cloning.

“What therapeutic cloning does is to create a human embryo for the purpose of extracting stem cells, and in doing so it kills the embryo. However, in Missouri the conversation has not been about therapeutic cloning—it has been about ‘somatic cell nuclear transfer’ (that’s the Orwellian euphemism preferred by the Stowers Institute, the financial source of almost all the $29 million spent on this stealth campaign). As bioethicist Wesley J. Smith has written, ‘biologically, the act of human cloning is asexual reproduction performed via somatic cell nuclear transfer, or SCNT. This act of cloning culminates in the creation of a new human embryo.’

“Researcher William L. Saunders has said that SCNT, or what he calls ‘experimental cloning,’ violates the Nuremberg Code. He is correct: Article 5 bars experiments ‘where there is an a priorireason to believe that death or disabling injury will occur….’ Because SCNT deliberately creates life for the purpose of destroying and harvesting it, it violates the Nuremberg Code. Hopefully, Missourians will not be fooled.”

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