Monday, December 29, 2008

Missouri group refiles initiative to ban using taxes for abortion, human cloning

A Missouri group has submitted an updated application for a ballot initiative that would ban the use of tax dollars for abortion, human cloning or other similar procedures.

Missouri Roundtable for Life seeks a November 2010 vote on a proposed state constitutional amendment saying “it shall be unlawful to expend, pay, or grant any public funds for abortion services, human cloning or prohibited human research.”

The Missouri Secretary of State’s office on Monday rejected the group’s initial filing due to “technicalities in the way it was worded,” Laura Egerdal, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, said Wednesday.

Missouri Roundtable for Life filed new paperwork on Monday.

It could take anywhere from less than two weeks to a month for the state to act on the latest filing, Egerdal said. The timeline depends on another legal review by the Missouri Attorney General’s office.

The ban proposed by Missouri Roundtable for Life would not directly affect research at the Kansas City-based Stowers Institute for Medical Research, which doesn’t rely on tax support.

However, consistent efforts to limit embryonic stem cell research in Missouri have prompted the institute to hold off on local expansion plans.

With strong backing from the institute, Missouri voters two years ago passed a measure — known as Amendment 2 — to protect all forms of stem cell research authorized by federal law. Before the Amendment 2 vote, Stowers Institute officials pledged that if the amendment passed, they would proceed with plans to add 600,000 square feet of local research space every decade in perpetuity.

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