The pro-cloning ballot initiative in Missouri has a lot going for it: industry backing, celebrity endorsements, bipartisan support, and great press. What it lacks is honesty; and if opponents hammer home that point between now and Election Day, it may yet go down to a richly deserved defeat.
The initiative is being packaged as a way to ban cloning, when in fact it would put a right to clone into the state constitution. The initiative is designed to protect scientists' ability to create cloned human embryos for use in research. Just five years ago, everyone agreed that this research involved cloning. Supporters tried to build support for it by calling it "therapeutic cloning" or "research cloning." When those tactics failed, the pro-cloning movement decided to ditch the word "cloning" altogether -- and, with remarkable chutzpah, to accuse those of us who keep using the word of being liars. (There are still a few supporters of cloning who, to their credit, have not gone along with this terminological spin; about them, the spinners are silent.)
The initiative doesn't ban cloning. It bans only the implantation of a cloned embryo into a woman's womb to initiate a pregnancy. In other words, it outlaws the development of a cloned embryo into a cloned baby: You can create a cloned human embryo as long as you kill it during research. (If artificial wombs can be made to work, however, the law would allow even for cloned babies.)
Nor is this the end of the cloners' twisting of language. They do not just deny they are promoting cloning; they do not even want to face up to the fact that what they want to kill is an embryo. In Missouri, the phrase "early stem cell research" is being used. It is a double deception. It ignores the features of this research that make it controversial: its reliance on the cloning and destruction of human embryos. And it implies that the initiative's opponents are against stem-cell research. In truth, they support research so long as it does not have those objectionable features.
Read the entire article on the National Review Online website (new window will open).