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Columbia Missourian

Overturning 2006 vote favoring stem cell research is criminal

By Laura Merritt, Columbia
February 26, 2008 | 10:00 a.m. CST

Fifteen months ago Missourians passed the Missouri Stem Cell Amendment to protect research for lifesaving cures that could benefit 125 million Americans.

On Feb. 20 a Missouri judge forgot that election results are the collective voice of the people and ruled with the minority who oppose stem cell research.

I speak with 60,000 Missouri citizens and more than 100 respected patient, faith and medical groups when I say I am very disappointed.

The 2006 election results protected stem cell research in Missouri, thereby protecting the potential for cures for diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, sickle cell anemia and spinal cord injury. The attempt to overturn the Missouri Stem Cell Amendment blatantly disregards not just the election results, but also our hope for cures and an improved quality of life for millions.

With the judge’s ruling, opposition will work vigorously to turn legal, lifesaving research and treatments into criminal acts. I urge Missourians not to sign your name to the drastic proposal to repeal our access to medical research, treatments and cures that we voted to protect. Missouri has an opportunity to remain a world leader with constitutional protections permitting controlled therapeutic research, which outlaws cloning aimed at duplicating a person.

As a citizen, I am outraged that the 2006 public vote is in jeopardy. I understand the possibilities stem cell research holds. As a Christian I believe stem cell research is “pro-life,” and as a 21-year-old with rheumatoid arthritis I place my hope in stem cell research.

My guess is that if the judge had a mother with cancer, or a brother with a spinal cord injury, she may have remembered Feb. 20 that Missourians voted in 2006 for the cures and hope that stem cell research provides.