Rep. Cunningham speaks out on Amendment 2
November 02, 2006

I possibly would not have made a public statement if the Amendment would have been in simpler language and in my opinion was not so deceitful. I believe you need to be honest with people and let people vote on the true merits of an issue.--Representative Mike Cunningham (R-District 145 - Marshfield)

“Clarifying Amendment 2”

by Missouri Rep. Ed Emery
(R-126 including the counties of Barton, Dade, Jasper and Polk)

Most of you have already figured out the deception of Missouri’s Amendment 2, but this explanation by Representative Mike Cunningham is so thorough and clear, that I hope you will want to forward it to friends. Representative Cunningham is a business owner, not an attorney, and his perspective is very much like our own. This is an excellent article to forward to friends who are still undecided:

A number of individuals have asked me about the proposed “MO Stem Cell Research and Cure Initiative”. The following are my thoughts from information that has been provided to me. I hope to clarify some of the issues.

There are two general categories of stem cells: adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells. Adult stem cells are found in the umbilical cord blood, bone marrow, peripheral blood, fat, and many other tissues and organs that are used in medical treatments. Research and treatment using adult stem cells are non-controversial and is presently being encouraged and used in Missouri. There is no law in using adult stem cells nor has there been any attempt to stop adult stem research in Missouri and anywhere else in the United States. Adult stem cell research and cures is a great thing with no need for protection from constitutional amendments.

The controversy with embryonic stem cells, which are obtained from producing human embryos either by in vitro fertilization or by cloning, is in allowing the embryos to develop to a certain stage and then destroying them to harvest their cells. Embryonic stem cell research is controversial, and there has been an attempt in the Missouri Legislature to address it. The stem cell initiative aims to prevent the Missouri Legislature from future regulation of cloning and human embryo experimentation.

I am bothered by the advertising for Amendment Two that is using the broad term "stem cell research," which includes the greatly supported adult stem cell research that has produced treatment and cures for many and the highly controversial embryonic stem cell research that hasn't. By combining the two types of stem cells the supporters are concealing the fact that therapies have yet to come from embryonic stem cells.

Presently, there are a number of states, most notably California that has explicitly encouraged embryonic stem cell research with a $3 billion initiative. This research also is being encouraged in a number of countries throughout the world. I realize the possibility of hope, but unlike the success being shown with adult stem cells there has been none shown with embryonic stem cell research.

Another difficult part of the Initiative to believe is the claim to prevent cloning. What the Amendment does is change the definition of "cloning". What "cloning" means to me is "to create a genetic copy" and The National Academy of Science, The American Association for the Advancement of Science, The International Society for Stem Cell Research, and the American Medical Association recognize Somatic Cell Nuclear transfer as "cloning". The Amendment clearly states that no person may clone or attempt to clone a human being.

Despite the plain English in this sentence it does not stop cloning because “Clone or attempt to clone," as defined in Subdivision 6 of the Amendment means, "to implant in a uterus”. The proposal defines cloning and opens the door in Missouri to cloning procedures to take place outside the womb.

Stated also is that "no person may, for valuable consideration purchase or sell human eggs for research" but these plain words are reversed by definition and are buried later in the Amendment. Valuable consideration does not include reimbursement for a number of things such as lost wages but more importantly does not include consideration paid the donor of human eggs or sperm by fertilization clinics or sperm banks.

Again, I feel we are being misled by the proponents who are saying that no public funds will be used and that the research will not cost the state any monies. In Section 5 the Amendment refers to funds and restricts the right of the Legislature to eliminate, reduce, deny, or withhold any public funds. It would appear to me that our state colleges and universities would have a blank check to spend whatever public funds they have for embryonic stem cell research.

Another section says that all stem cell therapies and cures "must be conducted and provided in accordance with state and local laws," etc., etc….. "to an extent that such laws do not prevent, restrict, obstruct or discourage any stem cell research". Discuss this with a lawyer, but to me this broad language says that any law that in any way discourages cloning would be unconstitutional. Since almost any law can be construed to discourage or create conflict, the researchers dealing with cloning would be totally free to pursue their cause without any regulations or oversight.

Egg donations have been proven to lead to dangerous side affects to women’s health. Eggs are required by medical procedure called hyper-stimulation. This procedure has been linked to a variety of health risks such as kidney and liver failure. In animals, I’m told, this procedure has led to a huge number of cancerous tumors. I can see drug addicts, college students, and the poor selling eggs.

I have other issues with Amendment Two that I’ll not include in this article. I am told that a good politician would stay out of this issue, but I could not bite my tongue any longer. I possibly would not have made a public statement if the Amendment would have been in simpler language and, in my opinion, was not so deceitful. I believe you need to be honest with people and let people vote on the true merits of an issue. I’m sure not an expert on the issue. These are just my thoughts.

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Thankscindyzim91002006-11-02 17:06:54