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Monday, Aug. 29, 2016

Stem cell debate is not a ballot issue

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

You have Missourians Against Human Cloning on one side and the Coalition for Lifesaving Cures on the other. If things go according to plan, Missouri voters will decide which side is right come November. What troubles me is that none of us really has much of a clue on the topic of stem cell research. But we're going to be asked to decide the highly controversial issue in November.

Human cloning is a touchy subject. It's the topic of spirited scientific study. But few of us know anything other than we've heard of test tube babies and we know a sheep has been cloned. Beyond that, to be real honest, we're clueless.

So the Coalition for Lifesaving Cures wants to put a ballot measure before voters that would allow stem cell research which they believe could well lead to medical breakthroughs for various ailments. And the Missourians Against Human Cloning says the measure will open the door to human cloning which could open other doors. Quite frankly, no one fully knows what's behind those other doors.

The opponents of the November ballot issue argue that "somatic cell nuclear transfer..." Wait just a minute. Do you honestly expect we poor folk out here trying to make it through the day have the faintest idea what you're talking about? Let me answer that. We don't!

I'm not at all certain the voters should be asked to decide such an important question. Shouldn't we leave these decisions to those who actually understand the topic? Let them debate stem cell research 'til the cows come in. If it can benefit mankind and not result in six-legged creatures, then so be it. If it leads down a path of potential disaster, then drop it.

Maybe it's a religious question or a moral question or an ethical question. Regardless, please don't expect the average man to fully comprehend a discussion that has the scientific community baffled. We're just not up to the task.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen