(the truth about Constitutional Amendment 2)
by Missouri Rep. Ed Emery
(R-126 including the counties of Barton, Dade, Jasper and Polk)
It's outrageous, I can't believe that the people of Missouri will be gullible enough to accept this…The people who wrote this are either dishonest or incompetent… Missourians are much too smart to be taken in by this kind of hucksterism.
--Bill Saunders, attorney, Family Research Council
I had not planned to do another report this week about the proposed Constitutional Amendment 2. The reason I changed my mind about discussing this issue again is because of an article my brother sent me recently. The article is by a Mr. Kevin Kelly, and Mr. Kelly’s article along with Mr. Saunders’ comments, summed up this issue clearly and concisely. The wealthy sponsors of Amendment 2 have presented stem cell issues as complex and beyond the understanding of Missourians.
The opposite is true; Missourians can easily understand this issue and make the right decision about changes to their Constitution. I have reproduced the Kelly article in part below. But if you’d like to read the entire article, you can click on the following link.
“You don't have to read the entire text of the proposed embryonic stem-cell and human cloning protection amendment to know why it should never become law. All you really need to read is the first paragraph," said attorney Bill Saunders. "It's an overhaul of your state constitution," said Saunders, senior fellow and director of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council's Center for Human Life and Bioethics.
The first paragraph, written by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, states that the proposed Amendment 2 would change at least 45 sections of the Missouri Constitution if voters approve it on November 7:
"NOTICE: You are advised that the proposed constitutional amendment may change, repeal, or modify by implication or may be construed by some persons to change, repeal or modify by implication, the following provisions of the Constitution of Missouri - Section 2, 10, 14 and 32 of Article I; Section 1 of Article II; Sections 1, 21, 22, 23, 28, 36, 39, 40, 41, and 42 of Article III; Sections 1, 14, 36(a), 37, 37(a), 39 and 52 of Article IV; Sections 5, 14, 17, 18, and 23, and subsection 17 of Section 32 of Article V; Sections 189(b), 18(c), 18(k), 18(m), 19(a), 20, 31, 32(a) and 32(b) of Article VI; Section 9(a) of Article IX; Section 1, 6, 11(d), and 11 (f) of Article X; and Section 3 of Article XI."
"It's a legal Pandora's Box," said Saunders, who was in Kansas City to attend the September 22-24 Fellowship of Catholic Scholars convention at the Airport Hilton Hotel. The sweeping changes proposed by Amendment 2 are necessary for two reasons, Saunders said. First, in order to deceive voters into thinking that they are voting for a "ban on human cloning" and on a law to forbid research clinics from trafficking in human eggs and embryos, as the text summary that voters will see in the polling booth claims, the amendment text, which voters won't see, must redefine common terms. Second, in order to wipe out the ability of any future state General Assembly, county commission and city council from even "discouraging" embryonic stem-cell research and human cloning, the proposed amendment must rewrite broad sections of the state constitution. Saunders noted that the way the amendment text itself redefines cloning and the possible "valuable consideration" or payment for human eggs and embryos means exactly the opposite of banning both practices. In fact, he said, the amendment would make human cloning and the trafficking in human eggs and embryos a constitutional right.
"Human cloning is producing a duplicate copy of a member of the human species, and that starts at the single-cell state," Saunders said. "But they define cloning as the implantation of a cloned embryo into the uterus of a woman. It's a typical flim-flam." Likewise with the provision that purports to prevent research labs from paying women "valuable consideration" to undergo the highly risky procedure of hyper-ovulation and surgery to harvest their eggs. The text of the amendment allows research clinics to pay any price to a third party, such as an in vitro fertilization clinic, for human eggs and fertilized embryos by excluding "reimbursement" from the term "valuable consideration."
Subsection 6(17) of the proposed Amendment 2 states "'Valuable consideration' . . . does not include reimbursement for reasonable costs incurred in connection with the removal, processing, disposal, preservation, quality control, storage, transfer or donation of human eggs, sperm or blastocysts . . . [and] also does not include the consideration paid to a donor of human eggs or sperm by a fertilization clinic or sperm bank."
"It's outrageous," Saunders said. "I can't believe that the people of Missouri will be gullible enough to accept this." Saunders called the broad changes needed to prevent any elected legislative body from ever regulating human embryonic stem-cell research or cloning "profoundly anti-democratic," and could have ramifications far beyond the field of medical research. "It is extraordinary, particularly since they don't bother to tell anyone what effects this will have on those 45 provisions of the constitution," Saunders said.
Section 7(i) of the proposed amendment prohibits any state or local laws that would "prevent, restrict, obstruct or discourage any stem cell research." The word "discourage" could be applied broadly and interpreted by a court to mean just about anything, Saunders said…."You don't put words like 'discourage' into the state constitution. "It's irresponsible," he said. "These open-ended terms would put into the constitution undefined, unlimited powers to the court to determine what they mean until the people amend the constitution again." He called the proposed amendment "a lousy piece of legal work." "The people who wrote this are either dishonest or incompetent…"
…Proponents also claim that the amendment is necessary to guarantee Missourians access to any cures that might be discovered in another state or country. Saunders said those claims are untrue....You don't need to change your state constitution to make those cures available in Missouri….Missourians are much too smart to be taken in by this kind of hucksterism," he said.