By a narrow margin, Missouri voters approved the stem cell research and cures initiative on Nov. 7, 2006. This now becomes an amendment to the State constitution and ensures that Missouri patients will have access to any therapies and cures that may result from stem cell research, and allows Missouri scientists to conduct any research permitted under federal law. Members of Women's Voices strongly supported this amendment. The text of our position paper follows.
Medical scientists and researchers have an obligation to explain this complex issue to the public clearly, concisely and completely.
Well-meaning people will disagree about the implications of this initiative. We believe that public discussion, grounded in reason and in a language of morality that is accessible to everyone, is healthy for society.
Medical research must always be carried out in an ethical manner, with appropriate guidelines and oversight to assure that the results will be for the public good. Human reproductive cloning is not an acceptable or ethical procedure.
Stem cell research has the potential to provide cures for diseases that afflict millions of Americans, and thousands of Missourians. These diseases include diabetes, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, autism, cystic fibrosis, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), leukemia, lymphoma, and others. In addition, stem cell research has great potential to benefit those who suffer from spinal cord injuries.
Certain stem cell research procedures are currently permitted in the United States. It would be unfair, both to scientists and the general public, to ban this research, and the cures that may result, in the state of Missouri. Doing so would dramatically diminish the quality of life available to the citizens of this state, and, as a result, would negatively impact the future of the state of Missouri.
We believe that moral conduct requires society to put more value on the plight of individuals currently suffering from incurable and often painful diseases than on the existence of frozen embryos in a fertility clinic.