Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Carnahan Rebuffed: Judge Joyce Sides With Cures Without Cloning

“The ballot summary language in this case is insufficient and unfair.”

Patricia S. Joyce—Circuit Court Judge, Division IV
Cures Without Cloning, et al. v. Robin Carnahan

Justice seems so very rare these days. But while Missouri Governor Matt Blunt was lauding praise on Jim Stowers, a billionaire cloner who bankrolled Amendment 2 and who’s been throwing money into the treasuries of virtually every would-be politician in Missouri, a circuit court judge in Jefferson City was considering whether Missouri’s Secretary of State (Robin Carnahan) was fair in discharging her elected duty of summarizing a citizen’s initiative petition.

Cures Without Cloning presented a rather straightforward proposal and sent it off for the necessary technicality of the Secretary of State signing off on the ballot summary. Their proposed language was:

1. It shall be unlawful to clone or attempt to clone a human being as that term is defined in subsection 2 of this section. Researchers may conduct stem cell research to discover cures for disease and develop stem cell therapies and cures, provided that the research complies with the limitations of this section and the limitations of Section 38(d). The prohibition of this section shall be in addition to the prohibitions of Section 38(d).

2. For all purposes within this article, “Clone or attempt to clone a human being” means create or attempt to create a human embryo at any stage, which shall include the one-cell stage onward, by any means other than fertilization of a human egg by a human sperm.

When Ms. Carnahan was finished with her review, she had prepared a rather different summary (I won’t mention she’s received money from Stowers & Company):

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to repeal the current ban on human cloning or attempted cloning and to limit Missouri patients’ access to stem cell research, therapies and cures approved by voters in November 2006 by:

  • redefining the ban on human cloning or attempted cloning to criminalize and impose civil penalties for some existing research, therapies and cures; and
  • prohibiting hospitals or other institutions from using public funds to conduct such research?

Hence the lawsuit. It doesn’t take a Harvard legal scholar to tell that Ms. Carnahan seems more than a little biased on the cloning/Amendment 2 debate. Her attempts to poison the minds of Missouri’s voters were hardly veiled and yesterday were rebuffed by Cole County’s Circuit Judge.

I don’t know if this is the first time in Missouri history that the Secretary of State was overturned in the discharge of their official duty, but it certainly would be a rare and almost impossible occurrence. But Carnahan’s summary was so egregious inaccurate, Judge Joyce had little choice but expose Carnahan’s ineptitude.

Dr. Lori Buffa, chairwoman of Cures Without Cloning, released a statement which said, in part:

“We are pleased that the courts have upheld our challenge to Secretary of State Carnahan’s blatant attempt to mislead the Missouri voters with her inaccurate ballot summary. It is unfortunate that Ms. Carnahan’s actions have needlessly delayed the democratic process, but we are now prepared to move forward with our efforts to prohibit the cloning of human beings here in Missouri.”

For now, the legal summary of the proposed ballot, as prepared by the court is:

Should the Missouri Constitution be amended to change the definition of cloning and ban some of the research as approved by voters in November, 2006 by:

  • prohibiting human cloning that is conducted by creating a human embryo at any stage from the one-cell stage forward;
  • prohibiting expenditure of taxpayer dollars on research or experimentation on human cloning; and
  • allowing stem cell research for therapies and cures that complies with these prohibitions and the prohibitions of Section 38(d) of the Constitution?

It is doubtful the State will not appeal the ruling. So far, Stowers’ money has been very influential in determining the actions of Missouri politicians.

But I’d expect Cures Without Cloning to proceed immediately in gathering the necessary signatures for the measure to appear on November’s ballot.

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