Missouri Stem Cell Petition: Voters Can Push the Logic of Stowers Institute's Quirky 'Science'

Dianne N. Irving
Copyright October 26, 2005
Reproduced with Permission

At last heavy Republican political weight in Missouri is bearing down on and exposing the obvious desperation and downright fraud involved in the Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, sponsored by the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures (a twin-battle using many of the same people, the same "businesses", the same fake "science", the same fake PR as in the embattled California Stem Cell Initiative created recently by their Proposition 71). Rep. Emery's two excellent and latest short commentaries are copied below.

Since many refuse or don't want to wade through the voluminous scientific references involved in these debates, what I would like to attempt instead for the sake of conscientious voters is to very briefly summarize the critical accurate scientific points, and then simply push the logic of Neaves' quirky "science" a little further, observing where else such an "initiative" would lead the good State of Missouri on many other life -- or if you prefer, "bioethics" -- issues as well.

The bottom scientific line is that Rep. Emery acknowledges the objective scientific fact (in concert with the international nomenclature on human embryology) that the immediate product of both sexual and asexual human reproduction is a new innocent living human being -- and thus his/her life should be equally protected by Missouri law from its beginning. On the other hand, Mr. Neaves, president and CEO of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, MO, "believes" that there is a new innocent living human being there only if he/she is the result of sexual human reproduction -- and only if implanted, fully formed, and able to think and rationalize as an adult. As Neaves fiercely rebuts Rep. Emery's position:

Rep. Emery seems to believe that a small group of undifferentiated cells - with no brain or nerve cells, no awareness, no thoughts or feelings and never destined to be implanted in a human womb - is the same thing as a human baby. Because of his belief, which to me defies common sense, he would halt medical progress and condemn our children and grandchildren to the same diseases, the same pain and suffering that we face today. (emphases added) [Neaves, Joplin Independent, "Prominent researcher defends stem cell exploration: 'Seeking cures in Missiouri]'" (Feb. 14, 2005).

Well, the objective scientific facts (not "beliefs" or "religious" opinions) in concert with the international scientific nomenclature (see articles for references below) are the following: that these "stem cells" are derived by killing innocent living human beings/human organisms; that these innocent living human beings/organisms can be obtained by using both sexual and asexual human reproductive methods; that the immediate product of both reproductive methods is a single-cell human being/organism (not just a "cell") and that the whole human embryo at the blastocyst stage of development is a human being/organism (not just a "ball of cells"); that "nuclear transfer" is cloning (at least, one kind of cloning) regardless of the purpose of the researcher; that these "stem cells" are indeed already differentiated to some extent but still mostly totipotent (not pluripotent) and thus could possibly revert to new living human embryos (a constant source of new biological "materials" for research and for reproduction); and that normally human beings conceived sexually begin to exist at fertilization (not implantation).

Now, let's just push the logic of Neaves' quirky "science" a bit and see where else it would take the good State of Missouri besides "stem cell research".

Surely Mr. Neaves realizes that the term "baby" simply applies to a more mature stage of a developing human being who already began his/her life and subsequent development quite a long time before birth. And the only thing that "implantation" has to do with anything is that it is when a woman undergoing artificial reproduction (e.g., IVF) becomes pregnant. Normally, a woman becomes naturally pregnant at fertilization (in her fallopian tube). Thus neither implantation nor birth has anything to do with whether or not these innocent living human organisms conceived outside or inside the woman are human beings, or justifies their being killed for their "stem cells". Yet if Mr. Neaves' "science" is constitutionalized, then those women who conceive naturally would not be considered pregnant until about a week after fertilization. Thus not only "stem cell research" would be constitutionalized in the State of Missouri but also human cloning, most human genetic engineering including that which would be passed down through the generations (eugenics), prenatal genetic diagnosis, the use of any and all abortifacients, abortion through 9 months in utero, and embryo and fetal research (both in vitro and in utero) -- since all of this would assume that there is no innocent living born or implanted human being there yet. Just a bunch of "cells" (inside or outside the woman's body).

Indeed, you human twins out there in Missouri better take note, because while one of you resulted from sexual reproduction (fertilization), the other resulted from asexual reproduction ("twinning", also known as "blastomere separation" or "blastocyst splitting" -- a cloning technique routinely used in IVF centers as "infertility treatments"). Neaves' "science" would thus constitutionalize the use/abuse of all those already-born human twins (who were reproduced asexually) in experimental research, living organ transplantation and "farming", euthanasia, etc. -- since they were not the product of fertilization and thus not human beings -- ever.

Oh, it doesn't stop there. The use/abuse of many other innocent living human beings would also be constitutionalized in the State of Missouri by Neaves' "science". If one is not a human being because one cannot actively express any "awareness," "thoughts" or "feelings", then the following list of innocent living human beings would no longer be human beings in the State of Missouri: all children from birth through the age of 18 years, and all adult human beings such as those with Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, the comatose, the frail elderly, drug addicts, alcoholics, all those who are mentally and physically disabled -- even Neaves himself when he is sleeping! Hmmmmmm.

Pick your reason -- scientific, political, religious, economic, logical, or just plain "common sense". The "stem cell/cloning" issue is a joke, a fraud, and surely must never be allowed to become embedded in the Missouri "Show Me" State Constitution. To allow this Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative to pass would indeed "condemn our children and grandchildren" to certain death and destruction in the good State of Missouri -- and all for a purely hypothetical unproven undocumented extraordinarily expensive and impossible "cure".

[For scientific references on my earlier rebuttal of Mr. Neaves' "science", see Irving, "YOU DON'T NEED A SPERM!" (February 3, 2005), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irvi/irv_57donotneedsperm.html, and at http://www.mocatholic.org/News/Press/IrvingWheeler.htm. For references especially addressing sexual and asexual human reproduction (including "twinning"), see Irving, "Missouri: Fairy Tales Abound in Human Cloning Debates" (Feb. 12, 2005), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_86missourifairytales.html, and at http://www.mocatholic.org/. For references especially addressing the false "science" used by pro-cloners Weissman, West, Berg, Neaves and others, see Irving, "What Human Embryo? Funniest Mental Gymnastics from Medicine and Research" (Oct. 14, 2004), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_82whathumanembryo1.html. For references (35 pages) documenting that these human embryonic "stem cells" are totipotent, not pluripotent, see Irving, "Framing the Debates on Human Cloning and Human Embryonic Stem Cells: Pluripotent vs. TOTIPOTENT" (July 23, 2005), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_100debatecloning1.html.]


Joplin Independent
October 20, 2005
Emery attacks Stowers' SCNT campaign

"Taking Life to Save Life...Who decides?"

Comentary by Missouri Rep. Ed Emery (R-126)

Stowers Institute, a major proponent of embryonic stem cell research, also called SCNT, launched a campaign Tuesday to change Missouri's constitution. Since then, I am appalled by the selfishness and political naiveté of their campaign. This crusade seems driven by a combination of fear of failure and a determination to protect their investment even if it means destroying life.

The complexity of stem cell research precludes any attempt here to fully define the issue, but much information can be investigated at Stem Cell Information provided by the National Institutes of Health or Stem Cell strides may help resolve ethical delemmas, an article on the San Francisco Chronicle's SFGate.com. The Stowers campaign relies on deception and the shroud of complexity in order to pursue, first, the signatures needed to put their proposal on the ballot, and then their commercial motives for protection of their unethical research.

The antithesis of the failures of embryonic stem cells is the life changing success of adult stem cell research. Such research involves frequent breakthroughs and no ethical questions. Just Google "adult stem cells" for extensive information of success. Stem cell research is not all equal. Missourians must learn the difference between adult cells and embryonic cells. Only the embryonic method sacrifices one life with an empty promise to someday (they hope) save another. Adult stem cells are currently treating patients in more than 60 different therapies, while embryonic stem cells linger in their laboratories. Why must we pay such a price for imagined success when we are finding real-life cures without the price?

Another absurdity is the idea of writing science into the Missouri Constitution. Historically, technology advances have pushed the validity of life to earlier and earlier in the birth and conception process. The next technological or scientific breakthrough is likely to continue such findings. Stower wants us to amend our constitution so that when such advances occur in a year, or 5 years, or 7, we cannot acknowledge them because we have locked today's scientific limits into tomorrow's State Constitution. What irrationality!

Many people simply won't take the time to research this issue and expose it. Therefore, it is important that we aggressively speak the truth about the questions and failures surrounding embryonic stem cell research. Some will not acknowledge the ethical conflict, but they will quickly see the economic foolishness. Others may refuse to fully investigate the science, but will recognize how ridiculous it is to write science into the State Constitution. Stowers Institute is desperate, and I am told they will spend millions to protect their business plan. Don't be surprised if they employ others, especially the liberal media, in trying to stop debate by assaulting our constitution.


Joplin Independent
October 26, 2005
Emery battles embryonic stem cell petition

"Desperate Men"

Commentary by Missouri Rep. Ed Emery (R-126)

I promised you last week that I would explain the timing, the politics, and the process of the recent petition initiative by Stowers Institute to revise Missouri's constitution and prohibit limits on cloning (also called SCNT). The politics are inescapable; sensing that few conservative voters fully understand embryonic stem cell research, Stowers intends to pour millions of dollars into a media blitz. TV ads are already being tested on focus groups. One of the ads emphasizes that their research is supported by "Christians." There are also "Christians" who support abortion, but their support changes none of the facts. The same is true regarding SCNT (somatic cell nuclear transfer) research.

Another reason for the rush is that Stowers hopes to place the amendment on the November 2006 ballot. Their intent is to draw more liberal voters to the polls and force pro-life legislators out of office in closely divided districts. That way, even if the amendment fails, they may have a shot at moving a similar measure through the legislature.

The process of amending Missouri's constitution involves gathering 150,000 signatures from registered voters, including a minimum number per U.S. congressional district. If the signatures are validated, the proposed amendment is placed on the next state-wide ballot and requires a majority of the votes cast to pass. If approved by the voters, a constitutional amendment takes effect 30 days after the election. A group of doctors, scientists, policy makers and business people has begun organizing to expose the truth about the Stowers initiative. They call themselves "Missourians for Ethical Cures." Their focus is to ensure Missourians understand this issue, especially the great promise of adult stem cells. This group believes that SCNT research (cloning from embryonic stem cells) will hinder development of cures because of the resources it drains away from successful researchers.

Just this week, I saw a letter from Carol Franz of Owego, NY. Mrs. Franz was praising the adult stem cell transplant that allowed her to survive myeloma cancer. She claimed to be one of "300,000 humans cured through adult and umbilical stem cell research." Mrs. Franz's letter correctly points out that "there have been no successes using embryonic stem cells." After untold millions of research dollars, there is still no justification for destroying life-bearing embryos with SCNT.

A press release from Children's Hospital of Pittsburg describes a scientific study which demonstrates that "adult stem cells have the same ability as embryonic stem cells to multiply." Please take a minute to read it for yourself.

Desperate men will do desperate things, even resorting to obfuscation. I hope each voter will research beyond the media and advertising. Stowers is dead wrong on this issue, and we absolutely do not need the Missouri constitution amended to protect the destruction of life for the sake of empty promises.

Editor's notes: The Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures of which Stowers, Washington University in St. Louis, and many groups seeking cures for diabetes, Parkinson's and spinal cord injuries are a part, is hoping to gather 150,000 signatures from 6 of Missouri's 9 congressional districts in order to put on the November 2006 ballot the issue of adopting a constitutional amendment to protect stem cell research in Missouri.

Larry Weber, executive director of the Missouri Catholic Conference joins Rep. Emery and other staunch pro-life supporters. Weber has called the research an "attack on human life" and an "immoral" proposal that his group, he says, will oppose with all their resources available.

The Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures believes that "voter approval of the Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative by a simple majority vote will prevent state-level bans of any type of stem cell research and cures allowed under federal law, including those involving adult stem cells and early, or embryonic, stem cell from the SCNT process and from leftover fertility clinic embryos that would otherwise be discarded."

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