From the President: Once Upon a Time in Missouri

The following is a letter from MRL President Pam Fichter which appeared in our October Newsletter:

During the special session, both the Missouri Senate and the House passed The Missouri Science Innovation and Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA) with bi-partisan majorities. This legislation provides public money for life science research without effective language to prevent funding of abortion-related services, human cloning, or embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). Missouri Right to Life (MRL) promoted protective language at every step of the process in every way we could with the help of many courageous legislators. But when the final vote was taken, the majority of legislators from both parties didn’t feel the one sentence supported by MRL – or any other language that would effectively prevent the public funding of unethical research – was important enough to include. This current legislature deserves great credit for passing restrictions on late-term abortions during the regular session, but abortion isn’t the only life issue of concern to prolife voters of Missouri. Many of you may be asking yourselves what happened to our pro-life legislators on the issues of cloning and embryonic stem cell research.

Supporters of unethical research have invested tremendous sums of money in promoting their cause to the legislators. While tracking money in politics is like following water downhill, a review of the reports filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission just before and since the 2006 passage of Amendment 2 reveals that hundreds of thousands of dollars have been donated to legislators by pro-cloning PAC’s. MRL has identified at least three pro-cloning PAC’s: Supporters of Health Research and Treatment, The Greater K.C. Chamber of Commerce, which spun off a specific procloning PAC called The Life Sciences of Greater K.C. Chamber. There could be additional pro-cloning groups making donations to legislators of which we’re currently unaware.

But the pro-cloning money is only one possible answer to the defection of pro-life support on the issue of cloning and embryonic stem cell research in the Missouri Legislature. The decline of the economy nationwide and in Missouri – and the desire of many legislators to improve economic conditions in Missouri – led many of them to put aside pro-life concerns if doing otherwise was perceived to imperil economic development. This false choice was promoted by the pro-cloning lobbyists, particularly MOBIO, a leading advocate of unrestricted research and of Amendment 2.

Another component in the MOSIRA vote was the weak response from groups who were former allies in the battle to defeat Amendment 2. With the exception of The Missouri Roundtable for Life, Concerned Women for America, and Eagle Forum, other groups actually supported parts or all of the economic development legislation for the desired tax credits they contained, supported ineffective reporting language, or had an extremely weak response to the threat against human life.

While the MOSIRA vote was a great disappointment, we cannot be discouraged from continuing to be a voice for life. We know that we are called not to be victorious, but to be faithful. Once upon a time, Missouri had a solid legislative pro-life majority willing to uphold those principles on all life issues. With the prayers and the votes of pro-life Missouri citizens, we can be that state once again.

“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.”
1 Corinthians 15:5

Pam Fichter

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