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Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative

An amazing campaign is underway for the Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative proposed for the November 2006 state ballot. This initiative has tremendous, positive implications not only for the state of Missouri but the entire country. Missouri, and St. Louis in particular, is a hub for biotechnology commonly known as the BioBelt and the region has the ability to make cures for common, devastating diseases a reality by expanding its already considerable knowledge base and resources. All it needs now is the legislative approval to do what is already permitted by the federal government.

This initiative, when passed, will make it clear in the state constitution that any stem cell research, therapies or cures that are permitted by federal law will be allowed in Missouri provided that such activities are conducted ethically and safely and do not involve human reproductive cloning to create babies. The reasons to support this type of initiative in Missouri or any other state are compelling:

(1) Conducted properly, stem cell research has the power to cure the most debilitating and deadly diseases on the planet;

(2) The positive economic impact of such an initiative is almost immeasurable: (a) jobs will be created, (b) new companies will be established, (c) research grants and investments will be made, (d) infrastructure will be developed, and (e) universities will attract more scientists as students and employees. This is vital now more than ever as America's attractiveness to foreign students of higher education is wavering amid disastrous foreign policy;

(3) The greater the investment in stem cell research in the United States, the greater our ability to maintain integrity in research, experimentation and implementation. This is not to say other countries are not to be trusted, but in light of the recent scandal in South Korea, making certain stem cell research conducted anywhere is done ethically and within legal limits is vital. Granted, this could have happened anywhere on the world - including our own backyard - but if the majority of stem cell research occurs within our borders the best controls can be implemented and oversight can be maintained. This will build public trust in the research and guarantee access to the safest medicine derived from stem cell research to our own citizens and the rest of the world.

Opposition abounds but most of the criticism comes from parties uneducated on the subject. Religious groups and conservatives are the most vocal critics of stem cell research for various reasons but support for this initiative is not coming from progressive groups alone. While most of the medical community backs this initiative strongly a few voices of support have come from traditionally unlikely sources, a former Republican Senator and a current Republican Governor:

"I'm pro-life. During my entire career, I voted pro-life. I strongly support the Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative because it will save lives and because it respects the sanctity of life. It protects medical research and cures that can save the lives of hundreds of thousands of Missouri children and adults — and it strictly bans human cloning."

Senator John C. Danforth
Former U.S. Senator for Missouri
Honorary Co-Chair, Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures

"The governor is supportive of this petition. He believes this is a step forward in banning human cloning and protecting responsible research."

Gov. Matt Blunt (R-MO) spokesman Spence Jackson
Dexter Daily Statesman, October 13, 2005

Support from unlikely groups is not only political either. The St. Louis Chapter of the American Jewish Congress and the Metropolitan St. Louis Clergy Coalition are two of many religious groups supporting the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, the official coalition of concerned citizens and organizations supporting the initiative. For a partial list of advocacy, academic, business, civic, faith-based and governmental organizations supporting this initiative click here.

If other states are seeking to legalize stem cell research, as permitted by the federal government, they should look to Missouri as a model. The initiative has a long way to go before it is passed in November of 2006, but those in charge of this effort have put made sure to give it the best chance possible to face any and all opposition. Here’s to responsible advances in science and a healthier, more disease-free society.

Disclaimer: I am a resident of the state of Missouri but at the time of this writing have no involvement with this organization or its efforts.

Vihar Sheth | Social Radiation

Posted by Vihar Sheth at December 19, 2005 2:14 PM
Comment #104298

I am for stem cell research if it works.

I am also for biotechnology to enable use to more efficiently produce the foods we eat and perhaps produce needed drugs and other products. The trees on my farm are genetically superior.

We should work to improve our prenatal “success” This would permit us to eliminate many handicaps and congenital problems.

I am, in short, for the practical use of science and stem cell research is part of that. I bet you, however, that many of the stem cell advocates are not with me on all the science. I also bet that if President Bush was for stem cell research, many supporters would oppose it, maybe using words like genetic manipulation and mentioning Frankenstein.

Posted by: Jack at December 19, 2005 2:58 PM
Comment #104301
Conducted properly, stem cell research has the power to cure the most debilitating and deadly diseases on the planet;

I have read this in many articles, and from a moderate conservative’s viewpoint (mine), I have absolutely no problem with it whatsoever. And I am sure that anyone who researches the subject will have a problem with it either. Only the people (both left and right) who have a consistant “knee-jerk” reaction to any subject will have a problem with it in one form or another.

Posted by: Jim T at December 19, 2005 2:59 PM
Comment #104424

I don’t know much about stem cell research. But I reckon it’s ok as long as it doesn’t involve the taking of life of any sort. Like fetal stem cell research would.
I’m with you Jack on being able to produce food more efficiently. It would help lower the cost for comsumers.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 19, 2005 5:02 PM
Comment #104425

Why should you care if it does not take your life? But it does take the life of the unborn……. aborted fetuses are used….That is a grizzly proceedure…. The miscarried are also used…….. This is a horrible thing… Put into our food…….This is nothing short of murder……It dosent make any difference who casts the first stone…… This involves death of the babies …… The Bible says …. God will pull down strongholds,and everything that exaults itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thaught into captivity unto him. Someday this whole process of fetal research and abortion and harvesting will be pulled down around the ears of anyone having anything to do with this travesty…. God said not to kill…..He didn’t say kill if it suited your purpose…. These babies have a soul…..You are taking a life…… animals do not have a soul…. They run on instint….Babies are made in the image of God……So you do not have the right to use them in any way……They were sent here to usser in the king of kings and lord of lords……. to be a witness for him…… The bible said there is a curse to anyone who touches that womb…….To harm that child…. So you are bringing sin right down the necks of the Americans….. YOu are killing Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren….Those who would set in Sunday school on the lords day and praise him…… Pride goeth before a fall…..You are bragging …… And spending money to buy these baby parts…… God forbid you touch one more fetus in the Mighty Name of Jesus Christ…..Even an animal only kills for food….But you kill for sport…. To see who gets the reward….You all make me sick…. Well you can listen to the screaming when they kill them…… you deserve it…. Jesus Christ is the one who heals…….not you…..God forbid you touch another child for your profit….

Posted by: Bonnie at December 19, 2005 5:03 PM
Comment #104458

I’m no expert either but the notion that dead babies are used is false. The federal legislation directly prohibits that (and thereby decreases stem cell research’s usefulness). But, other methods, where fertilized eggs are not used, are becoming common in the science / industry. The idea that the grandchildren who may have been produced by the donors of the stem cells in question are being killed is silly. Please do more research Bonnie. You will find most of your fears and concerns are unfounded.

An aside, I assume based on your statement that “Even an animal only kills for food….But you kill for sport…. To see who gets the reward….You all make me sick” you are against recreational hunting. It seems that all your conservative bretheren have some soul searching to do.

Posted by: Vihar Sheth at December 19, 2005 5:34 PM
Comment #104487

I’m personally trying to get some information on stem cell research here. I’m not trying to get involved in any kind of arguments on this. Just trying to learn something on the subject. As I said, I don’t know a whole lot about it.
One thing I’ve read a couple of times is that stem cells from the imbical cord are more potent than any others. So why not just collect these and use them? Would there be legal problems here?

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 19, 2005 6:02 PM
Comment #104541

how do you know dead babies don’t belong in food? I can tell you they are delicious! In fact the only thing I can think of that tastes better is dead puppies and kittens YUM!

Just kidding but you have no Idea what you are talking about as far as stem cell research. It’s misinformation like yours that has given this science a bad name. Maybe read about the subject rather than come here and post such drivel.

Ron you are right about imbilical cords. The majority of the cells needed can be gotten from them.

Posted by: dr. Shopper at December 19, 2005 8:03 PM
Comment #104542

To Bonnie: I feel sorry for people who think anyone born of the womb of woman is lord. You are in for a very rude awakening when you pass into the next life. You are fond of quoting scripture, yet you have no idea of what it really means. If you took the time to study the process, you would know that it has no bearing on our food. Genetic research of plant production is on plants, not human stem cells. I have often said that I have never met a politician who wasn’t a crook or a preacher who wasn’t a liar and you seem to be the perfect example of that. If you take the time to thoroughly research the Bible, you will find that Jesus said, “It is not by my faith these things are done.” and when John knelt before him in the book of Revelations he said, “Do it not, for I am but a fellow servant.”

Posted by: Johnnie Dunn at December 19, 2005 8:08 PM
Comment #104550

@ bonnie

But it does take the life of the unborn……. aborted fetuses are used….That is a grizzly proceedure…. The miscarried are also used…….. This is a horrible thing… Put into our food…….This is nothing short of murder

Miscarried and aborted babies are dead, you cannot take the life of a dead baby. They are not food either.

Even an animal only kills for food….But you kill for sport….

Using the cords of the DEAD babies (Miscarried and aborted are already dead not living) isnt killing them if they are already dead. Learn, before you comment on a touchy subject.

Posted by: rob at December 19, 2005 8:29 PM
Comment #104559

Imbilical cords tether imbiciles to their maternal unit - umbiblical cords bring the fluid of life to mammals

Posted by: mike at December 19, 2005 8:53 PM
Comment #104562

Bush opposes stem cell research for his pals the Religious Right who believe life begins at conception. Therefore, a fertilized human egg is a “baby” or “unborn child”. Using a fertilized egg to created stem cells involves killing the egg. Many Americans disagree with the fundamentalists that a baby is the same as a 1-cell organism and there are different theories regarding when life begins. However, Bush rabidly needs the support of these absolutists and will go along with anything, and I mean ANYTHING, they command.

Posted by: dn4v at December 19, 2005 8:58 PM
Comment #104590

I lived in Missouri last year, and I was once polled on stem cell reasearch over the phone. Many of the questions related to James Dobson and Focus on the Family. For example, they would ask something like, “If Christian groups like Focus on the Family opposed stem cell research, would that make you more or less likely to support it?” I said MORE LIKELY to every question.

Posted by: scarp at December 19, 2005 10:08 PM
Comment #104716

I have no problem with stem cell research. I understand that it doesn’t come from live babies, thus doesn’t kill anyone. My only question at this point is…How will it be paid for?

Posted by: Tom D. at December 20, 2005 6:24 AM
Comment #104833

dr. Shopper
The only problem I could see with imbilical stem cell then would be the posibility of leagal action from the parents.
Sense this is usually discarded anyway would there be legal recourse that they could take?

I know I asked dr. Shopper but anyone that knows, feel free to ansewr.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 20, 2005 11:50 AM
Comment #104841

and when John knelt before him in the book of Revelations he said, “Do it not, for I am but a fellow servant.”

Posted by: Johnnie Dunn at December 19, 2005 08:08 PM

Acually Johnnie, John was kneeling before an angel, not Jesus.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 20, 2005 11:55 AM
Comment #105168


Out of curiousity, where in Missouri do you live? From your blog, I’d guess St. Louis, which would be funny, since that’s where I live. What are the odds that two of the Democratic Editors on WB are from the same city in a Red state?

Posted by: LawnBoy at December 20, 2005 8:05 PM
Comment #105932

St. Louis it is LawnBoy!

Posted by: Vihar Sheth at December 22, 2005 10:48 AM
Comment #106290

What part of the area? I’m in South City, near Hampton and Arsenal.

Posted by: LawnBoy at December 22, 2005 8:30 PM
Comment #109862

“Opposition abounds but most of the criticism comes from parties uneducated on the subject.”

What a telling comment. The irony is that such rhetoric is actually directed at the feeble-minded who are fearful of appearing “uneducated.” Those of us who spend time thinking aren’t bothered by it. I know exactly what the amendment is intended to prohibit and to legalize, and if it comes to a vote, I’ll vote against it.

The funny thing is that the stem cell research supporters keep insisting, in shrill tones, that while human cloning is wrong, this isn’t human cloning because the embryos won’t be implanted. In fact if the embryos _were_ to be implanted, the whole thing would be far more morally defensible. The fact that stem cell research supporters don’t recognize this shows how out of touch they are with moral considerations.

Posted by: Kyralessa at January 2, 2006 10:38 PM
Comment #115662

Embryonic research is infanticide. There is no excuse. Why save lives, if the way that they are saved is through destroying them? I support umbilical cord, adult, and other nonembryonic stem cell research. Its only when the research involves the murder of babies that I disagree.

Posted by: Anonymous at January 22, 2006 3:39 PM
Comment #118683


Bonnie I need you to do two things. First do not type in all caps. Second, this is a political news and debate site, not a platform for preaching religions. There are many other sites for shouting your particular religion’s message. Please keep your comments within the realm of politics and avoid preaching your religion to our other visitors here. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. — WatchBlog Managing Editor.

Posted by: BONNIE at January 31, 2006 2:16 PM
Comment #193857

The cloning debate entirely depends on when you think life begins. Does it begin when the egg is fertilized by the sperm, creating a cell with a full unique set of human DNA? Or does life begin when the replicating mass of cells attach to a woman’s uterus (insinuating natural abortion - when the fertilized egg is unable to attach and flows out)? Or does life begin at a certain cell replication benchmark, indicated by visible features of the mass of cells? Or does life only begin when the grown mass of cells is detached from the host (woman) by cutting the umbilical cord (and her approval to grant life on the mass of cells)?

I personally prefer conception as everything after that, until birth, is simple cell replication as designated by the DNA.

Posted by: Chris R at November 7, 2006 6:30 PM
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