TO: Honorable Members of the House Select Committee on Commerce
FROM: Gerard Nieters, Legislative Director
DATE: February 17, 2016
RE: Opposition to HB 2302 & HB 2321, Economic Development Tax Incentives for Open-Ended Bioscience Businesses
It is the mission of Missouri Right to Life (MRL) to protect every innocent human life at every stage of development. While Missouri Right to Life is not averse to economic development and ethical research, when that development is built on the destruction of innocent human life at any stage of development, MRL will speak up.
Missouri Right to Life (MRL) opposes any legislation to provide public money for certain research and development expenses, including tax credits or reinvestments from public monies for work in the fields of life sciences, biology and pharmaceuticals without restrictions, because that work could include human embryonic stem cell research, human cloning or even fetal research on aborted babies.
Because pharmaceutical research and development is a primary subject of these types of research, Missouri Right to Life opposes any legislation that includes tax credits or reinvestments with public monies for life sciences, biology and pharmaceutical research without pro-life protective language
In the NAICS Classifications, you will find the pro-life concerns related to human cloning, embryonic and fetal research in section 541711 Research and Development Biotech and section 54112 Research and Development Life Science (except biotech).
You will also find concerns related to abortion services in NAICS section 621410 Family Planning Centers, 621493 Freestanding Ambulatory Surgical and Emergency Centers and 621498 all other outpatient care centers.
HB 2302 and HB 2321 establish a process for awarding public monies to Business Development Corporations with the Missouri Technology Corporation being the organization that establishes qualifications. The full legislative body needs to give direction to the Missouri Technology Corporation on who can and cannot qualify for these public monies, tax credits and incentives. The Missouri Technology Corporation should not be the deciding organization of what can be done with public dollars or tax incentives. The Missouri Technology Corporation and those connected with the MTC are known supporters of human cloning and embryonic stem cell research which makes the pro-life protective language even more important to be included on HB 2302 and HB 2321 in order to prevent public funding for abortion services, human cloning and embryonic stem cell research.
There have been complaints voiced in the past, by those who would profit from human cloning and the destruction of innocent human beings through embryonic stem cell research, that cloning researchers won’t come to Missouri because the environment is unfriendly to human cloning. If they do not seek to do human cloning, embryonic stem cell research and research on aborted babies then the following requested pro-life protections should not be a problem.
Missouri Right to Life opposes any economic development legislation that includes only a reporting requirement for this life-destroying research. This position ignores the fact that you ask those doing human cloning and embryonic stem cell research to self-report, a reporting requirement does not cover the fact that the definition of human cloning was changed in our constitution by the adoption of Amendment 2 so any report may not include the creation of human embryos through somatic cell nuclear transfer (human cloning) for scientific research, and the fact that reporting is after the fact of the loss of the lives of unknown numbers of innocent human beings.
Missouri Right to Life also opposes any economic development legislation that is dependent on pro-life language in a separate bill.
One of the principal ways that cloning firms and institutions will make money consists of using cloning to establish lines of human embryonic stem cells on which various drug formulas may be tested. In fact, the Wisconsin scientist who invented the process that keeps human stem cells alive in cultures, James Thomson, has formed at least one company to do exactly that. As was reported in The Capital Times of Madison Wisconsin in 2007, “The [company] is growing stem cells into adult heart cells that could make the testing of experimental drugs safer and more efficient.” (The Madison Times, Feb. 7, 2007.) The news article went on to report, “[T]he research faces intense opposition from some social conservatives because days-old human embryos are destroyed as scientists extract the cells. Critics argue it is unethical to destroy human life in the name of science.”
James Thomson may be an eminent scientist, but no one, whether a scientist, businessman, or abortionist, should have a license to kill innocent human beings. Nor should the State of Missouri give tax credits to research institutions who sponsor the killing of human beings in order to obtain stem cells for pharmaceutical research.
The U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that the development of any new drug now requires at least $500 million and 8½ years of testing. See its summary, “FDA and the Drug Development Process: How the Agency Ensures That Drugs are Safe and Effective,” February, 2002, p. 1 (http://www.fda.gov/opacom/factsheets/justthefacts/ 17drgdev.html). Because of the difficulties and expense involved with animal testing, many researchers have moved to testing potential pharmaceuticals on batches of human tissue cells. In fact, the FDA recently approved the first human trials using human embryonic stem cells by the Geron Corporation. The destruction of innocent human life in the creation of pharmaceuticals is a reality.
Because of the ability of adult stem cells to act like human embryonic stem cells and successfully change into other tissue type cells, there is no need for the use of human embryonic stem cells in research.
Missouri Right to Life recommends the following language to assure that innocent human beings are not the victims of unethical research with state monies or incentives:
Public funds shall not be expended, paid, or granted to or on behalf of an existing or proposed research project that involves abortion services, human cloning, or prohibited human research as defined in section 196.1127.
Without this protective language, Missouri Right to Life is opposed to HB 2302 and HB 2321.