Missouri Amendment 2 and The Stem Cell Debate – A Biblical Perspective

Missouri Amendment 2, the Stem Cell Initiative, will be on the ballot this coming November 7. The Missouri Coalition For Lifesaving Cures is supporting Amendment 2 with a record breaking contribution of $28 million from a billionaire Kansas City couple, Jim and Virginia Stowers. The motive of the Stowerses, according to their lawyer, is that “They want that science to progress without restriction to cure disease.” Supporters of the amendment claim that passage will ensure your family’s access to federally-approved cures available to other Americans and will ban human cloning. The ballot language on Amendment 2, as well as the propaganda put out by Missouri Coalition For Lifesaving Cures, is full of lies intended to mislead Missouri voters. Many pro-life Christians have been misled as well, as the whole story is difficult to sort out.

As a pastor of a Missouri church with a Ph.D. in the field of science, it is my responsibility to expose the error in this Stem Cell Initiative and show you why it is the duty of every Bible-believing believer to vote “NO” on Amendment 2. NIV Ephesians 5:11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. The fact that various ministers from non-Bible believing churches support the initiative, shows only that these people cannot be trusted to either understand or explain the truth.

Missourians by an overwhelming margin (8 out of 9) oppose human cloning, as do most Christian religious denominations. The language of the Stem Cell Amendment on your November ballot will read that the amendment will “ban human cloning or attempted cloning.” This is a lie and it is inexcusable that this language has been allowed on the ballot. The fine print of the amendment, which will not appear on your ballot, states in Section 6.2 ““Clone or attempt to clone a human being” means to implant in a uterus or attempt to implant in a uterus …” Therefore, Amendment 2 redefines human cloning as implanting a cloned human embryo in the womb and creates an unlimited right to clone and destroy non-implanted human embryos for the purpose of harvesting embryonic stem cells.

A flyer sent out to Missouri homes from the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures states “And, making stem cells in a lab dish is not the same thing as cloning a human being.” This statement is very misleading and suggests that those who are opposed to human cloning should not be opposed to producing embryonic stem cells. The truth is that it is necessary to clone a human being in order to create the embryonic stem cells. So, those who are rightly opposed to human cloning, should also be opposed to created embryonic stem cells and should vote “NO” on Amendment 2.

Not only, does Amendment 2 protect, rather than ban human cloning, it also protects the destruction of human embryos by amending the Missouri constitution. The Bible teaches that life begins at conception and that human life must be protected at all stages of development. NIV Psalm 139:13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Thus, the destruction of cloned human embryos to produce embryonic stem cells is immoral and must be opposed.

You might ask, but what about the lifesaving cures? Whether lifesaving cures can be made from embryonic stem cells is unknown, as none currently exist. There are many therapies being researched from adult stem cells, which have no ethical concerns. However, lifesaving cures, even if possible, must not be created by destroying other human life.

For more information about the issues of stem cell research, read an interview or watch a video interview with Dr. Christina Powell. Read a column by Chicago Sun-Times columnist Bob Novak on how misleading Amendment 2 is. More information about the issues surrounding Missouri Amendment 2 can be found at the website of Missourians Against Human Cloning. Email this blog post to your friends and encourage them to vote “NO” on Amendment 2.

Tags:  

Comments

Anonymous 22-10-2006, 13:20

Thank you, Pastor, for a clear analysis of the Amendment 2 to be voted on in just a few weeks. There is much confusion on this issue, but you have put it in terms a layperson can understand and grasp. Keep up the good work, and continue to back up your analyses with the Word of God.

Reply
Anonymous 23-10-2006, 09:00

Your interpretation of the Bible does not make any sense to me. That we are wondrously made, and grow in our mother’s womb, is obvious. How does that deny us the right to progress? A microscopic ball of cells is not a baby. Your kind of thinking is NOT God’s thought. He would not deny us the use our our minds and efforts to improve our lot on earth and save our children and elders from devastating disease. Shame on you.

Reply
Pastor Dan 23-10-2006, 09:31

Let me explain a little detail about what the Bible teaches for Anonymous. The biblical principle in play here is that God creates life from the merging of a father’s sperm and a mother’s egg. This human life begins at conception and must not be deliberately destroyed. Human cloning, the process where a human embryo is created through SCNT is rightly opposed by most thinking Christians.

A human embryo created by any means is a baby, not a microscopic ball of cells. If the human embryo created by human cloning is not a baby, at what point does it become a baby? I’m going to be very blunt here. Missouri Amendment 2 is proposing the creation of thousands of human babies through human cloning for the sole purpose of being killed and dismembered for the harvesting of their body parts (stem cells). This is to be done in the fruitless hope that God will bless this genocide and bring miraculous cures from it. This is not progress, this is barbaric and must be opposed by every Bible-believing Christian.

Reply
Jordan 23-10-2006, 14:44

Hello, I am very glad I read your article. I am doing an oral presentation on stem cell research in college composition class and your article has cleared many things up for me. It makes a great amount of sense when you say, “When do we decide when it is a baby?” I hope you don’t mind if I use that in my presentation…. Of course, I’ll tell everyone that I wasn’t one that thought of the quote.

Reply
Anonymous 24-10-2006, 06:31

I just found http://www.citizenlink.com which has a lot of articles on the use of ADULT stem cells for treating/curing at least 73 diseases, including Parkinson’s, for the benefit of Michael J. Fox. This is for Jordan’s presentation.

If Amendment 2 passes, it will give scientists free reign to experiment on human eggs and embryos for the purposes of cloning and there is little that the legislature, courts or police can do to stop it. Amendment 2 protects them so they will have a safe haven for medical experiements such as Hitler created in WWII.

Then we have the problem of the eggs, which have to be surgically extracted from young women after they are given potent drugs to force multiple ovulations at one time. The risks to these women include infertility, stroke and even death. The eggs are essential for Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer, which is the new term for cloning so that they can say NO CLONING on the ballot.

By the way, embryos have also been redefined in the amendment and are now called “blastocysts.” Thanks, Robin Carnahan, for clarifying that. They have also coined a new term “early stem cell research” to avoid the term “embryonic.”

No wonder voters are confused. It takes a scientist to decifer the wording of the amendment. The wife of a lawyer told me that he had trouble understanding the amendment. Even if you were for the idea, you should vote against such a poorly written amendment.

Reply
Anonymous 24-10-2006, 08:18

Dear Pastor,

May God continue to be with you.

I have been very concerned about Amendment 2. Having worked for the government for years, I am used to reading legislative bills and saw quickly the “new” cloning definition. God is the only one who has control over a life. They are seeking to develop life in a dish and destroy it later for science. I believe this will, also, undermine the attempts to stop abortions in the U.S. because they will be utilizing the aborted embryos.

If the body of Christ does not watch carefully the enemy will deceive them and devour them. I pray all Christians will stay alert and protect life by voting NO to Amendment 2.

Heather Alaimo, Missouri

Reply
Anonymous 24-10-2006, 11:39

I have read your comments on Stem Cell Research and your opposition. I have questions about what you oppose. Do you oppose cloning? Do you oppose the use of embryos? Then I also would need to know, do you oppose the petry dish formation of embryos for freezing for infertile couples and their destruction when not used? I am a Christian, and an RN. I would like to ask you to PLEASE go to http://www.curesforcalifornia.com, then click on Alliance for Stem Cell Research. Read the Stem Cell Fact Sheet in its entirety. Please read the sections on What is somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer, and the following section on Why people confuse therapeutic cloning or SCNT with human or (reproductive) cloning.

SCNT does not even use a fertilized egg. There is no sperm involved and no embryo. Embryos used are donated by couples who discard the embryos they have created or from eggs donated by individuals. I have read every single word of the amendment, fine print and all. It does place a strict ban on human cloning. As far as the scriptures you quoted, I don’t see the correlation at all. “You have knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” We are not talking about harvesting embryos from mother’s wombs. How does that scripture apply? I disagree strongly with your particular use of the scripture to defend this position. I would gladly entertain wise counsel from the scripture on this subject, however I don’t see how the ones you have quoted apply. I respect your right to profess your opinion and I hope you will respect mine as well and perhaps you will read the information I have suggested. CA

Reply
Pastor Dan 24-10-2006, 11:49

Thank you for your comments. In my blog post, I have tried to keep things simple for the untrained layperson. My position is a position taken by all major evangelical denominations and leaders. The basic position that can be based on Scripture, is that human life begins at conception and must be protected. I do not oppose all cloning, just human cloning. I do not oppose in vitro fertilization and implantation in a woman as an aid to infertile couples. However, the formation and destruction of unused embryos is wrong, although a common practice. I do not oppose the use of all stem cells, just the use and harvesting of embryonic stem cells by the destruction of human embryos produced through human cloning.

I am sorry that you have been confused by the propoganda put out by curesbycalifornia.com. If you had carefully read the links in my post, particularly the ones by Dr. Christina Powell, you could better understand this misinformation. I will try to put it in simple terms. Therapeutic cloning and human (reproductive) cloning use exactly the same scientific techniques (Somatic cell nuclear transfer, SCNT) to produce the same result, a human embryo or blastocyst. The two terms for the same process of cloning have been invented to mislead people into thinking the two processes are different. If you read the info from the website you quote carefully, you will see that difference being cited is only in the goals of the two processes. The goal of therapeutic cloning is cures and the goal of human cloning is a new human being according to the pro-cures people. However, if life begins at conception, then every human embryo is human life and must be protected. SCNT is cloning by definition and produces a human embryo, albeit not from a sperm and egg. This human cloning, in and of itself, is immoral, as is the destruction of the embryo.

Admittedly, the verse I quote does not in and of itself prove my point. It does say that the unborn human embryo is considered by God to be valuable and a human life. A human embyro, created by any means, is human life and should be protected. However, I also believe that a strong case can be made from the Bible, that human embryos should not be produced by cloning, which is exactly what the promoters of Amendment 2 want to do.

Your confusion, as a Christian, is the reason I wrote the blog. I hope that my comments have made things clearer. Please read the interview and watch the video interview by Dr. Powell and I believe you will come to the biblical point of view on the issue.

Reply
Anonymous 25-10-2006, 18:24

I am glad that I stumbled onto this site. I origionally thought a few weeks ago that I would not vote, I just didn’t understand all these issues, and I was afraid that I would possibly make a wrong decision, due to my ignorance on all of this stem cell stuff.

The Michael J. Fox ad on t.v. really has tugged at my heart strings. I am 27 years old, and have watched him on t.v. and in the movies basically all of my life. I really do like the guy, and I feel so sorry for him and anyone else who is trying to live their lives with diseases and illnesses. It’s so sad.

However, after reading all that I could on this site, I have definitely come to a conclusion, I will vote in November. And I will definitely vote AGAINST Ammendment 2. I am a proud Christian woman, and I am going to do my part as a child of God and as an American, I will excercise my right to vote, and I will vote for what is morally right. Thank you Pastor Dan, for helping me understand what I need to do. I do hope and pray for a cure for Michael’s illness, I just don’t think that passing Ammmendment 2 is the way to do it.

Reply
Pastor Dan 26-10-2006, 12:09

Glad to hear that you’ve changed your mind, a lot of people are according to the latest tracking polls. On October 12, the numbers on Missouri Amendment 2 were: Yes (57%), No (27%), Undecided (16%). On October 24, the numbers had significantly shifted to: Yes (45%), No (36%), Undecided (18%). As more and more people are learning the truth about Amendment 2, they are deciding to vote No. As you can see, the shift is not from undecided voters, but from those who just a few weeks ago were intending to vote yes. Click the little envelope at the bottom of my post to email the article to friends and relatives.

Reply
Anonymous 27-10-2006, 09:32

Dear Pastor Dan,

Thank you for your comments on this horrible amendment. I cannot see taking a precious life so that we can realize “advances” in the medical field. I have been brought up in a Christian home(my dad is a minister) and ALL of my family are voting against this amendment.

It was brought to my attention that if God did not put the idea in someone’s head, then it would not have come about. I look on the other side: maybe the ole’ Devil is up to his tricks. Just another thing to think about!

Thanks again for your wonderful comments on Amendment 2.

Reply
Anonymous 27-10-2006, 14:05

I am a devoted Lutheran and I was raised to believe that a baby/fetus/embryo (from conception) was a gift from God. No matter what is bad or wrong in life today, how can you destroy or kill a gift from God?
Vote “NO” on Admendment 2

Reply
Pastor Dan 01-11-2006, 14:15

Thank you for pointing out that life is a gift from God.

Since my blog was published last week, over 4000 people have read it. I have been getting some negative comments which are generally characterized by misquoting me, an inability to comprehend what I have written, off-topic comments and extreme length. If you want your comments considered for publication, keep them short, to the point and interact accurately with what I have written.

I will interact briefly with selected portions of a very long comment from Amanda, a graduate student at the University of Missouri. Amanda states “It disturbs me to think you would comment that every true Christian would vote against Amendment 2. I am a true Christian and I will vote “YES” on Amendment 2.” I did not use the phrase “true Christian.” I used the phrase “Bible-believing believer” because although most Americans describe themselves as Christian, only a small minority actually are believers according to the Bible’s definition.

So let’s see what Amanda thinks about the Bible, “It is my strong opinion that the words of God, as depicted in the bible, mean different things to different individuals.” According to Amanda, God doesn’t know how to communicate, since what He wrote means different things to different people. No, the Bible is very clear on what God is teaching. NIV 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

With regard to stem cell research, here is Amanda’s erroneous thinking. “Stem cell research isn’t about the sperm and the egg, these are unfertilized embroys which means there is no sperm involved. I would like to know how that constitues as a baby if the defintion of a baby is sperm and egg uniting. How, in your mind, does this mean that we would be destroying lives. The fact remains that this is not a fertilized egg, thus not a human.”

Here’s what I actually said “A human embryo created by any means is a baby, not a microscopic ball of cells.” Whether the human embryo was created by fertilization or by cloning (SCNT) makes no difference, it is still a human embryo. Was the embryo created by cloning (SCNT) that ultimately produced Dolly the full grown sheep, not a sheep embryo? Of course it was. There’s your big problem Amanda, you don’t understand that a cloned human embryo with the full complement of 46 chromosones is human. You need to go back and read some basic texts in embryology before you take your qualifying exams.

For others of you who have, like Amanda, been hopelessly confused by misleading ads and spokesmen like John Danforth and Michael J Fox, here is a link to a document from the Family Research Council on more specifics of cloning called Myth & Fact: Missouri Amendment 2 Protects Human Cloning.

Reply
Dee 01-11-2006, 14:39

I am so encouraged at how many of us are spreading the word against this deceptive amendment. I have done several posts on it and am trying to do my part in getting the word out too.

I appreciate your courage in taking such a strong stance as a Pastor. My pastor also encouraged us to vote no on the amendment after we had a presentation from Missourians against Human Cloning.

This is by far one of the largest grassroots movements that I have ever seen. And we are making a dent in the support for the amendment even though we are being ridiculously outspent. Keep up the good work!!

Reply
stebrad 02-11-2006, 02:49

Pastor Dan,

Thank you for your exposition of this topic. I found it during my own research. It is a most confusing topic (even without the added confusion and deception) and I commend you on your ability to simplify the topic’s nature to make it understandable to a layperson.

It is always disheartening for me to read an opposing response from a non-believer (or one who calls himself a believer but doesn’t seem to “get it”) on issues that so clearly oppose God’s law. Arguments will come from those opposed, but they still argue from a negative position, whether or not they realize that their argument is without basis in truth. May their eyes be opened.

Just because we can [fill in the blank] doesn’t mean that it is right. Unfortunately, modern science, medicine and pop culture adheres to and does its best to promote a different “law” that proposes that (nearly) any means are justified by the end.

Of course, God’s word shows us otherwise.

May God continue to bless you and your ministry.

Steve Bradshaw

P.S. I’ve taken the liberty of quoting you on my blog. Thanks again!

Reply
Pastor Dan 02-11-2006, 09:18

Another anonymous poster wrote a long post whose point appears to be contained in this sentence. “I am confused, it seems as if you believe that Amendment 2 is against the Word of God because of the use of embryonic cells. However, the freezing and discarding of the same life(cells) that you speak so passionately of is OK.”

You’re confused because you didn’t read what I said, here’s my quote on the topic. “I do not oppose in vitro fertilization and implantation in a woman as an aid to infertile couples. However, the formation and destruction of unused embryos is wrong, although a common practice.” Seems pretty clear to me and it is totally consistent with the word of God.

Apparently, this person is being misled by a St Louis pastor on Amendment 2. I did a quick survey this week of the websites of the 10 megachurches (attendance greater than 2000) in St Louis. I was astounded and very disappointed that none of them had any reference to Amendment 2 or the stem cell debate on their homepages. If you attend one of those churches, maybe it’s time to find another church that has the courage to stand up for the truth of God’s Word.

Reply
Kelly 02-11-2006, 09:26

Thank you for providing all of this information about MO Amendment 2, which, like most other posters, I did not fully understand.

I have heard so many different things from both sides of the argument that seem to contradict each other and it’s hard to sort the truth out of this mess. Thanks to your post, I now understand the cloning issue. However, I was wondering if you could provide some clarity on another rumor about this amendment. I have heard many opponents of the amendment mention that it will allow human embryos to be sold, yet from my reading, it seems to ban this. I’m not sure if I understood correctly, so I was hoping you could address this issue as well. Thanks!

Reply
Pastor Dan 02-11-2006, 09:34

Kelly,

Actually, the amendment does not permit selling of human embryos, but it does permit the selling of human eggs. You see, millions of human eggs will be required to do the experiments necessary to produce the cloned human embryos. Amendment 2 gives biotechnology firms the right to pay women to harvest their eggs.

This exploitation of women is a grave concern as studies show that up to a third of women who submit to ovarian stimulation to produce eggs experience health consequences.

Reply
Anonymous 02-11-2006, 12:06

Thank you for your analysis on the Amendment 2 issue facing our state on Tuesday. I am writing a persuasive paper for my government class on this topic and I am going to use some of the ideas you presented to make my point strong and evident. Thank you!

Reply
MissouriMurphy 02-11-2006, 14:16

I really fail to see how this is a religious issue. I learned the difference between a blastoplast and an embroyo in seventh grade science class.

Reply
Pastor Dan 02-11-2006, 15:14

MissouriMurphy, this is a religious issue because it has to do with important matters the Bible speaks to, human life and death.

As your comment about the blastocyst and human embryo being different parrots the language on the Missouri Cures website, I will address the concept. The Missouri Cures website says that embryonic stem cell research “does not use or harm an embryo.” You don’t need a PhD to see the stupidity of that statement. Why is it called embryonic stem cell research? Because it uses stem cells from human embryos, the word embryonic comes from embryo.

A blastocyst is a stage in the development of a human embryo. Here is the definition of blastocyst from The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, “The modified blastula stage of mammalian embryos, consisting of the inner cell mass and a thin trophoblast layer enclosing the blastocoel.”

Let’s see what definitions the National Institues of Health (NIH) uses for these terms on their website about stem cells. “Embryo — In humans, the developing organism from the time of fertilization until the end of the eighth week of gestation, when it is called a fetus.” “Blastocyst — A preimplantation embryo of about 150 cells produced by cell division following fertilization.”

Cloning (SCNT) produces human embryos (blastocysts) identical to those produced by fertilization, which are destroyed to harvest embryonic stem cells. Missouri Cures and MissouriMurphy, you are hereby found guilty of disseminating false scientific information to mislead people concerning Missouri Amendment 2. Vote No on Amendment 2.

Reply
Derek 02-11-2006, 22:31

Thank you for writing on this issue, Pastor Dan.

Since we last saw one another, I’ve reentered my previous career in radio. I’m now the program director and afternoon host at an FM talk radio station in Columbia, Mo. Amendment 2 has been a frequent topic on my show and I’m happy to say that a recent SurveyUSA poll shows a 38-point swing in public opinion against the amendment here in mid-Missouri.

You can hear an interview about Michael J. Fox and Amendment 2 from earlier this week with bioethicist Wesley J. Smith by clicking here.

Reply
Pastor Dan 04-11-2006, 08:37

Although some people dismiss opposition to Amendment 2 as only being from backward religious extremists, many scientists are also against it. Here is an enlightening email from J. William Harbour, MD, Distinguished Professor, Washington University School of Medicine.

Dear Friends,

I am deeply troubled by the lack of accurate information reaching the public about stem cell research and Amendment 2. I am a physician-scientist at Washington University School of Medicine, and part of my research focuses on stem cells, especially related to cancer. I approached this amendment with an open mind and have read it carefully many times. However, the more I read it, the more disturbed I am by the confusing and deceptive language of the amendment, the scientific double-talk, and its contradictory claims. Although I am a proponent of properly regulated stem cell research, and indeed my laboratory conducts stem cell research, I have become convinced that Amendment 2 would be a huge mistake for Missouri.

The basic arguments for Amendment 2 are essentially that (1) embryonic stem cell research has tremendous potential for curing a wide variety of diseases, and (2) any concerns that this research will be abused are unfounded because we can trust the medical and scientific community to regulate itself. Being knowledgeable of stem cell biology and related medical research, I am deeply skeptical that either of these arguments is true.

Did you know?

1. A major problem with embryonic stem cell therapy is the development of tumors and cancer. Click here for one of many examples.

2. A Harvard scientist recently discovered that adult stem cells could cure diabetes in animals, but her work was dismissed by the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and some scientists because it was not ‘on message’ with their push for embryonic stem cell therapy. Her work has now been confirmed by two other prestigious universities! Click here.

3. Adult stem cells, which are readily available from blood, bone marrow, fat and other tissues, have shown the ability to cure diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many other disorders. Click here for one of many examples of recent research.

Here is another example.

Why are we not hearing about the dangers of embryonic stem cells, and the successes of adult stem cells, which do not endanger women?

***************************************************************

Below, I attempt to clarify some of the common arguments that are being made in favor of Amendment 2.

Argument # 1: Amendment 2 prohibits human cloning. Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), which the Amendment protects, is not human cloning.

Clarification: When scientists talk about cloning, SCNT is exactly what they are talking about. Amendment 2 claims to prohibit cloning but deceptively redefines cloning to apply only to the implantation of the cloned embryo into a uterus. Here is a medical definition of cloning: “The transplantation of a nucleus from a somatic cell into an ovum, which then develops into an embryo.” No mention about uterine implantation. To say that a cloned embryo is not human unless it is placed into a woman’s uterus, is like saying that a nuclear bomb is not a weapon unless it is dropped on people. The potential for harm and abuse is great, even if one does not intend to act on this potential. Read the amendment carefully! The Amendment actually encourages and protects human cloning, which it claims to prohibit.

Argument #2: Embryonic stem cell research has the potential for curing many more diseases than adult stem cells.

Clarification: I can find no scientific evidence for this claim. Many people have been led to believe that embryonic stem cell research is new, and this is the reason we have not yet seen their incredible curative potential. The truth is that embryonic stem cells have been researched since the early 1960’s. What is really new is the tremendous breakthrough in our understanding of adult stem cells, which are readily available from blood, bone marrow, fat, and other sources, and do not endanger women. We have only recently become aware of the amazing ability of adult stem cells to change into many different cell types, such as bone marrow stem cells turning into nerve cells that could potentially treat a wide range of neurologic diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Click
” REL=”nofollow”>here
for just one of hundreds of examples.

If adult stem cells are likely to be just as good, if not better, than embryonic stem cells, why expose women to risky egg extraction and create a huge demand for eggs that will surely end up in ethical compromises and exploitation of women?

Argument #3: SCNT will not endanger women. All egg donations are voluntary.

Clarification: To be honest, this is my greatest concern. Despite loud cries to the contrary, the widespread use of SCNT for medical research and treatment will unquestionably jeopardize the health of women, particularly poor disadvantaged women and young, college-age women with limited financial resources who will be tempted to allow themselves to be given large doses of ovulating hormones and undergo surgical procedures to extract eggs in exchange for monetary awards. We are not talking about a few hundred cloned embryos, but rather, millions and millions will be needed for this research. And the need for more eggs will never end for the huge biotech industrial complex that would be spawned by this amendment. Even if we manage to control the exploitation of women in Missouri , profiteers will undoubtedly go to third world countries to find willing subjects. I just learned of a woman in another state who was in an abusive relationship and had limited financial means, so she took ovulating hormones and offered her eggs in exchange for money. She did this repeatedly despite severe pain associated with the egg extractions. Technically, her egg donations could be described as ‘voluntarily,’ but I find this degradation of women to be appalling and unacceptable. In contrast, investing our resources in adult stem cells will ultimately result in similar or greater cures than embryonic stem cells without creating a biotech industrial complex that pursues women’s eggs. If you think I am exaggerating, check out this recent article from the leading scientific journal Nature warning of dangers to women from egg extractions.

Argument #4. How could this amendment be a bad idea when leading scientists and doctors support it?

Clarification: The media blitz only shows the scientists and doctors in favor of Amendment 2, but there are many who oppose it. Why are you not hearing about the scientists and doctors who oppose Amendment 2 and who are concerned about embryonic stem cell research and human cloning? Good question if you believe in democracy and an informed electorate. The amendment proponents linked up with a wealthy couple in Kansas City who donated almost all of the ~$28 million being used to saturate the media with p
ro-amendment information. Meanwhile, the many doctors and scientists against this amendment do not have the big business biotech money to mount a similar ad campaign, and most do not speak out in fear of retribution by their institutions. You will have to decide for yourself whether you think this is the way democracy is supposed to work.

Argument #5. The only people against embryonic stem cell research are conservatives and religious extremists.

Clarification: This is the most incendiary, contemptible and most easily debunked misstatement by the amendment supporters. This attempt to pit amendment proponents and opponents against each other on the basis of religious belief and political affiliation is appalling. For example, look at the following website to see that feminists and others who would hardly consider themselves religious conservatives are against this type of legislation.

***************************************************************
Bottom Line

The bottom line is that Amendment 2: (1) would surrender our right as Missouri citizens to regulate stem cell research in our own state, (2) would allow biotech special interests to do human cloning experiments in Missouri without proper democratic oversight, (3) is not needed to ensure the best available healthcare in Missouri, (4) is not needed to ensure world-class research in Missouri, (5) would create a biotech industrial complex with an insatiable and unceasing demand for women’s eggs, which would jeopardize the health of disadvantaged and young women who would be enticed into submitting themselves to dangerous hormonal treatments and surgical egg extractions for monetary awards, and (6) creates a false hope of magical embryonic stem cell cures and deflects attention and resources away from tremendously exciting treatments and cures that are emerging now with adult stem cells, which are readily available and do not endanger women.

Final Thoughts

My practice focuses on patients with cancer, and I am profoundly saddened when one of them dies of their disease. I am in the trenches every day trying to save patients and find new cures, and I understand what is at stake. But I am convinced that this amendment is not the right direction for our state. There are much more effective ways we can spend our money and time without endangering women, forfeiting our right to regulate research in Missouri , and creating an ethically ambiguous world where body parts are scavenged from cloned embryos.

We all have to make our own decisions, and democracy only works well if voters are fully informed. Whatever opinion you develop on this issue, make sure it is based on facts!

Please note that my comments are made as a private citizen on the basis of my training and expertise as a medical doctor and research scientist in the field of oncology. I do not, nor do I mean to imply, that I represent the views of Washington University , Barnes-Jewish Hospital , or any other organization with which I am affiliated.

Thanks for your attention.

J. William Harbour , MD
Distinguished Professor
Washington University School of Medicine

Reply
Meagan 06-11-2006, 13:51

May God be with us all in the next 32 hours and with each individual in the voting booth. I fully support and commend you for all that you have done on this issue. Know that the truth, His Truth, is spreading throughout the state. His Grace is enough.

For Life,
Meagan Rippee
President, Mizzou Students for Life
Missourians Against Human Cloning Campus Coordinator-Univ. of MO

Reply
Ms. Butler 06-11-2006, 15:40

Pastor Dan, I’m a Christian & a scientist. I work with others who (all too confidently) assume that we scientists automatically support amendment 2 and/or embryonic stem cell research. I went to the MO gov website to read amend-2 before reading your blog and it’s like you said -misleading for a layperson. I tend to get confused when reading legal jargon so I’m usually intimidated. However, I do understand scientific jargon and so the amendment appeared to contradict itself. I was pretty sure I knew what somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) involved, but the amendment clearly stated “no human cloning”. I looked up SCNT to be sure I hadn’t forgotten my molecular genetics training. Anyway, you are correct. Amend-2 is a lie. It plays with words.
To others, Christian and non-Christians: this is not the way. It’s like black-market organ donation. It’s like justifying abortions to cure cancer.
Science can use other technologies and also non-embryonic stem cells. I attended a conference recently where there was a talk by leading stem cell research scientists. I won’t get into the technical details, but I learned that politicians, college trustees, and the media like to make it seem as if there’s no other road to cures, but through embryonic stem cell research. That simply isn’t true. What it is is easier science (because embryonic cells are the “freshest”, to put it simply) and frozen blastocysts may be in abundance due to IVF. When the SCNT-stem cell scientists were asked basically “why not be content with adult and umbilical stem cells” there was a reaction of frustration and the response that it’s just easier with embryonic tissue.
I agree that to support this amendment would show zero respect and value of human life, and not the other way around.

Reply
Anonymous 06-11-2006, 17:05

Before finding this blog, I really didn’t know what to think about this whole issue. To be completely honest, I didn’t really take the time to research the Amendment until now. The e-mail that you posted by the Washington University professor has completely set me the right way. I will definitely vote AGAINST Amendment 2 tomorrow and I also copied and pasted that blog and put it into an e-mail and sent it to everyone I know, even the ones who are set on voting for the Amendment. I do believe that many of them have been misinformed on what they are really trying to do.

It’s kind of upsetting that the ones who are coming back with negative comments against what a man of God (Pastor Dan) has to say about the issue, but can’t come back with anything after the Washington University Scientists e-mail. Hopefully that e-mail cleared it up for all of you.

Thank you Pastor Dan!

Reply
Anonymous 07-11-2006, 00:00

Thank you Paster Dan. I have been praying about this and asking God to show me exactly how he wants me to vote and he has led me to your page. I now know without a doubt to vote NO. God Bless!

Reply
Rich & Jill 07-11-2006, 06:47

Came here confused and left informed with the knowledge necessary to vote against this amendment! God Bless and thank you for your work Pastor Dan!

Rich & Jill
Columbia, MO.

Reply
Rob Hanson 07-11-2006, 09:07

I pray God will bless you, Pastor Dan, for the hard work you have put into understanding and conveying the core of this issue to your readers and your flock. May God have mercy on our state and our country today, as we even consider taking this next step down the slippery slope of devaluing and now commidifying human life. Rob Hanson, M.D., Ph.D.

Reply
Anonymous 07-11-2006, 12:24

It would be so nice to pass a legal definition of the phrase “human life”. If we would define when life begins, we wouldn’t have any of this confusion, and anyone attempting to pass legislation in favor of abortion, embryonic stem cell research, or cloning (no matter what you call it) would be illegal and categorized as murder, the premeditated destruction of human life. At conception (whether in a mother or in a dish), the embryo develops distinct, individualized, unique DNA. It is now its own unique living creature, which happens to have human DNA. It is a human being of its own. I don’t see what’s confusing about that. It’d be great if people could stop lying to themselves and saying that babies aren’t humans until they’re born. Man, this is just wrong. Very wrong. I fear for our country…

Reply
Pastor Dan 07-11-2006, 13:34

Tracking polls of Missouri Amendment 2 as of yesterday, November 6, put it at 47-47. Every vote counts. Don’t let anything keep you from getting to the polls today and voting NO on Amendment 2.

Reply
Pastor Dan 08-11-2006, 07:10

Jesus said, NIV Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Thanks to all those who supported the truth, despite being outspent 10:1. Don’t be discouraged, for you did the right thing and God will bless you. NIV Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

Reply

Leave a Reply


About the Author

Pastor Dan Walker Name: Pastor Dan Walker Church: Life Church St. Louis Address: 15036 Clayton Rd
Chesterfield, MO 63017

I believe that God's truth is powerful enough to change lives, families and cities and I trust that this blog will give you a glimpse of the truth about what's important in life.

Recent Comments

Archives

Universal Analytics