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Cloning Stem Cell Research

In Missouri, GOP is riven over embryonic stem-cell research

13 years, 5 months ago

734  0
Posted on Apr 18, 2005, 8 p.m. By Bill Freeman

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- In January, the Missouri Republican Party gained control of both branches of the state legislature, as well as the governor's mansion. Such a political alignment had not been seen in 84 years. Among Republicans, early-year expectations of a conservative agenda have been replaced by angst, as a proposal -- to ban a form of embryonic stem-cell research involving cloning -- pits two core constituencies against each other: Forces opposed to abortion are squaring off against business leaders seeking to nurture scientific and medical research industries in Missouri.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- In January, the Missouri Republican Party gained control of both branches of the state legislature, as well as the governor's mansion. Such a political alignment had not been seen in 84 years.

Among Republicans, early-year expectations of a conservative agenda have been replaced by angst, as a proposal -- to ban a form of embryonic stem-cell research involving cloning -- pits two core constituencies against each other: Forces opposed to abortion are squaring off against business leaders seeking to nurture scientific and medical research industries in Missouri.

Last week, the Missouri Senate shelved a bill that would have banned somatic cell nuclear transfer, or so-called therapeutic cloning. That process is opposed by many, including Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, because they believe it involves creating a human life to destroy it.

Supporters of therapeutic cloning, which is used to harvest stem cells for research, argue that the egg cell used in the procedure is never fertilized and that it will not be implanted in a uterus, so human life is not being created.

State senators debated the measure for six hours without resolution last week. The bill's sponsor, Matt Bartle of suburban Kansas City, resisted calls to compromise or, as some Republicans would have preferred, to drop the proposal entirely.

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