Human Exceptionalism

Repeal Amendment 2!

Is it possible that voters in Missouri will be given the opportunity to repeal Amendment 2? Perhaps so. Opponents of human cloning, now a Missouri state constitutional right, are apparently contemplating another vote to seek to repeal Amendment 2.

I think this is a legitimate approach. Amendment 2 was written to assure voters it outlawed the “cloning of a human being,” when it actually legalized it. The authors did this by redefining cloning in a scientifically inaccurate manner. Moreover, I am convinced that the precipitous drop in support over the last two weeks of the campaign for Amendment 2 resulted from the message that the bill actually legalized cloning finally breaking through the news blockade in the wake of Michael J. Fox’s deceptive ad against Senator Jim Talent.

An initiative that accurately described somatic cell nuclear transfer as cloning, and seeks to ban the procedure in humans, is worth pursuing. (This is not the same thing at all as banning any kind of stem cell research.) Indeed, I hope that approach can be taken up in other states. Perhaps then, we can have a true debate about human cloning based on accurate science and a clear analysis of the ethical issues that are involved.

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