Family Research Council

State Constitutional Amendments for Cloning Stem Cell Research

In recent years the states of California and Missouri have passed constitutional amendments that protect the practice of cloning within those states. Similar initiatives, on both cloning and embryonic stem cell research, can be expected in other states. In the cases of California and Missouri, these amendments were promoted and passed based on three common claims: 1) The stem cell research that comes from cloning will provide ready cures; 2) Cloning leads to economic growth, and 3) Regulations will resolve the ethical objections.

Claim 1: Cloning Will Provide Ready Cures

Proponents of state cloning amendments claim that cloning will provide cures for scores of diseases, from arthritis to cancers, to HIV/AIDS, to Alzheimer's disease, to Autism.

Facts:

Human cloning and embryo-destructive stem cell research have yet to yield one clinical trial, let alone a reliable treatment or cure. Safe and ethical adult stem cell research is currently being used to treat over 73 diseases and conditions, with over 1400 FDA approved clinical trials underway.

Claim 2: Cloning Will Provide Economic Growth

If a state allows human cloning, it will create a "science-friendly environment" thus drawing millions of dollars in private and public research funds, thus creating economic growth.

In California proponents of the amendment predicted returns between 120 and 236 percent.

Facts:

California has seen no such returns, and probably will not in the future. In Missouri the passage of a cloning amendment has made government less willing to appropriate funds for medical research, and made the general atmosphere in the state uncertain, not "science-friendly."

Claim 3: Cloning Will Provide Clear Ethical Benchmarks

Cloning amendments "ban human cloning" and unethical embryonic stem cell research.

Facts:

Cloning amendments define cloning so narrowly as to ban cloning for the sake of bringing a child to term. They enshrine the procedure in the state constitution so long as the procedure is intended to result in the destruction of the cloned embryonic human being. Cloning amendments define cloning by motivation of those creating the clones, thus deceiving voters.

William L. Saunders is Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Human Life and Bioethics at Family Research Council.

Dr. David Prentice is Senior Fellow for Life Sciences at Family Research Council, and a Founding Member of Do No Harm.

Michael Fragoso is a policy analyst with the Family Research Council.