Monday, October 30, 2006

Struggling on 2

I must admit, Michael J Fox’s emotional appeal is difficult to deny or oppose or refute--- when he says, “a vote for Claire McCaskill is a vote for hope for life-saving cures,”---Who am I to deny this man his hope for life-saving cures---clearly he is suffering and we should do whatever we can, right? Of course, opposing a ballot initiative to amend the state Constitution is not necessarily a vote against "hope."

So we know that he supports McCaskill but what does he think about proposed Amendment 2?

Fox admits that he hasn’t read Amendment 2 in Missouri which is why he didn’t explicitly come out for it, he merely campaigns for Claire McCaskill because he believes she will more likely approve gov’t funding for embryonic stem cell research—he explains why on George Stephanopoulus’ show this weekend.

See this exchange:

Stephanopoulos: You mentioned the Steele campaign. Both the Steele campaign and the Talent campaign have said you're not being fair to them, because they want to expand stem cell research, too, they say, but it's adult stem cell research.
Fox: Right, and I agree with them on adult stem cell research. I mean, let's talk about what we agree on. I agree that stem cell research is fantastic; we should pursue it. I agree that we should have no human cloning. We're against that. We're against egg farming, that notion. We agree on all of that……

Stephanopoulos: In the ad now running in Missouri, Jim Caviezel speaks in Aramaic. It means, "You betray me with a kiss." And his position, his point, is that actually even though down in Missouri they say the initiative is against cloning, it's actually going to allow human cloning.
Fox: Well, I don't think that's true. You know, I campaigned for Claire McCaskill. And so I have to qualify it by saying I'm not qualified to speak on the page-to-page content of the initiative. Although, I am quite sure that I'll agree with it in spirit, I don't know, I— On full disclosure, I haven't read it, and that's why I didn't put myself up for it distinctly.

I think the Missouri Constitution has been bought for the bargain price of $28 million. Based on conversations I have had with people of all political stripes recently, many people are not quite sure how they feel about it—but I bet the measure will pass with something like 55% approval. When you read the summary language that will be on the ballot it’s hard to oppose, why wouldn’t we want Missourians to have equal access to medical technologies that citizens in other states have? Who could oppose that?

Where it gets technical and confusing is when the initiative says it would ban human cloning and ban the sale for "valuable consideration" of eggs for stem cell research---many people are uncomfortable with the idea of creating human beings and then destroying them for research purposes, even if it is very early stage, and many people are uncomfortable with the idea of women selling their eggs for fertilization and experimentation.

So the initiative addresses both of these issues by appearing to ban them, but in the full language of the initiative it expressly permits both of these activities and literally amends our state Constitution to include their language.

The bottom line is this: if you think that the government should be allowing and/or funding research on human blastocysts that are created for the express purpose of destruction (within 14 days of cell division) and research, then vote yes. If you think that fertility clinics and sperm banks should be paying donors for their eggs that can later be fertilized and then destroyed for research, then vote yes on 2.

If you oppose either one of those things, vote no on 2.


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