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Anti-abortion group wants amendment to ban 'cloning'

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – Abortion opponents in Missouri want voters to decide a state constitutional amendment that would prohibit public funding for a type of stem cell research they consider to be human cloning.

The Missouri Roundtable for Life says a law with that aim was undermined in 2006, when voters passed Amendment Two.

That measure protects all stem cell research in Missouri that's allowed by federal law.

Paula Gianino with Planned Parenthood says the backers of this latest initiative are skewing the definition of "cloning" in an attempt to link it to abortion.

"We find that that link is not appropriate," Gianino said. "To have a ballot initiative that would attempt to take away all funding from agencies and individuals who also refer women for abortion, we think is excessive and extreme and really, really dangerous."

The ballot question is similar to ones filed by the Missouri Roundtable for Life that later stalled, following legal battles with Secretary of State Robin Carnahan over proposed ballot language.

Ed Martin, with the Missouri Roundtable for Life said he's confident his group will get the issue to voters.

"We've talked to [Carnahan's] lawyers, and we now think we're at a point where we can safely say this will be an opportunity for the Missouri Constitution to be limited, so tax dollars never go to abortion and never go to human cloning," Martin said.

Meanwhile, Jim Goodwin with the group Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures released the following statement:

"Since 2006, cloning a human being has been completely banned in Missouri, so it cannot be funded. As for permitted stem cell research, the courts have already said the Stem Cell Amendment didn't change the Legislature's ability to fund or not fund any project lawmakers choose. Stem cell opponents refuse to accept that answer, so once again they're trying to create controversy and generate attention to prop up their unsuccessful efforts. How else, besides just plain sloppiness, do you explain their filing of 29 ballot proposals in 20 months? Stem cell opponents should respect what Missouri courts and Missouri voters have said; it's long overdue."