7 December 2009
Appeared in BioNews 537
A Missouri Republican State Representative has proposed legislation to block public spending on embryonic stem cell (ES cell) research in the state. The proposed amendment to the Missouri constitution called for an end to public funding of any research that involved the destruction of embryos. The pro-life Republican representative, Cynthia Davis, also included a ban on funding for abortion and any use of cloning technologies SCNT (somatic cell nuclear transfer) in research.
The House Joint Resolution, (HJR 49), was filed on the first day for new legislative propositions for the coming term. In a press release, Ms Davis said: 'This Joint Resolution I filed will allow Missouri taxpayers to make sure their hard-earned tax dollars will not go to pay for abortions not medically necessary to save the life of the mother, abortion services, human cloning or embryo destructive research.' The resolution is the latest in a series of attempts to outlaw such spending.
Though Ms Davis claimed that such 'controversial research' was found to be 'morally reprehensible' by a 'large percentage of Missourians', the Missouri electorate previously passed (in November 2006) a referendum amending the constitution specifically to safeguard such funding. If the bill passes both of the chambers of the state legislature then it will appear on ballot papers during next year's general election.
Ms Davis, of O'Fallon County, who is the current chair of the Special Standing Committee on Children and Families at the Missouri State House, is well known for her extreme fiscal conservativism. She was widely lambasted in February of this year when she spoke out in opposition to the provision of subsidised school lunches for children from low income families stating: 'Hunger can be a positive motivator.'
In response to the filing of the resolution, Todd Jones, the director of the Missouri Roundtable for Life commented that 'Missourians need to stop the raid of the Missouri treasury by fringe special interest groups like Planned Parenthood and others who seek taxpayer dollars for abortion services and human cloning. The time to stop that raid is now.'