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New Initiative Has Shocking Effect: Thousands of Missourians with Abnormal Chromosome Structures Are Not Human

Tuesday, August 28, 2007 General News J E 4
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ST. LOUIS, Aug. 27 Missouri Coalition forLifesaving Cures revealed today a consequence of the deceptive and far-reaching initiative petition filed last week by opponents of embryonic stemcell research: It is so poorly worded and scientifically unsound that it wouldexclude Missourians with common chromosomal abnormalities like Down,Klinefelter and Turner syndromes from its definition of "human."

In their blind rush to put their personal ideology ahead of Missourians'need for lifesaving cures, opponents of stem cell research have trampled basicscience. Said chief medical officer of St. Louis Children's Hospital Dr. F.Sessions Cole, "It's impossible to know all the consequences of this vague andpoorly written initiative, but there's one that's immediately clear. If you'reone of the thousands of Missourians with a chromosome abnormality, thisinitiative declares you not to be human and enshrines that definition into ourconstitution. I find that deeply troubling, and I suspect most Missourianswill as well."

The initiative states: "(2) For all purposes within this Constitution,"Human organism" means human life in any stage. Human life begins with aninitial stage, when a single human egg cell receives a complete set of forty-six chromosomes, and continues through any subsequent stages of embryonic,fetal, postnatal, and later development."

Many common genetic diseases occur when a deviation occurs in the numberof chromosomes transferred. In addition to citizens with 47 chromosomes whosuffer from Down syndrome, and individuals with Turner syndrome who usuallyhave 45 chromosomes, countless other Missourians with various geneticdisorders do not have a "complete set" of genetic information through smallchromosomal variations.

Added Dena Ladd, a longtime child and patient advocate, "It's bad enoughthat this initiative's supporters would ban some of the most promising stemcell research and potentially lifesaving stem cell cures our families need.But that they'd be so careless in pursuing that goal speaks volumes about theheartlessness of their real agenda. We clearly can't trust this initiative."

Thanks to Missouri's passage of the Stem Cell Amendment last year,Missouri's constitution now guarantees equal access to stem cell research,treatment and cures allowed under federal law and available to otherAmericans. It also makes any attempt to clone a human being a felony crime,punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The proposedinitiative's plan to redefine "cloning" is really a disguised attempt torepeal the stem cell guarantees established by voters last year.

Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures promotes cures for diseases suchas Parkinson's and diabetes in Missouri. It is a grassroots group whichincludes more than 100 leading patient and medical organizations and more than60,000 Missouri citizens.

Paid for by Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, Lindsay Holwick,TreasurerContact: Connie Farrow (314) 808-1158

SOURCE Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures
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