SPECIAL LEGISLATIVE SESSION ON HUMAN CLONING FUNDING?
Your calls, letters and e-mails opposing taxpayer funding for human cloning and other unethical life science experiments are having their effect. Governor Matt Blunt has announced that he may call a special session to run concurrent with the regular session, which convenes January 3, 2007, to consider legislation to sell assets of the state student loan fund to provide funding for various life science projects on state college campuses.
By calling this unheard of special session concurrent with the regular legislative session, Governor Blunt is seeking to head off the growing opposition to state funding for unethical life sciences experiments by moving quickly before the public's voice is heard.
The governor wants the legislature to approve the selling of $350 million in assets of the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) for the construction of life science facilities at Missouri public universities. There are three basic reasons why this is a very bad idea.
1. Passage of Amendment 2 has robbed the legislature of the ability to make distinctions between life science research that is ethically acceptable, such as research with adult stem cells, and unethical experiments that involve human cloning or the destruction of human embryos. Consequently, if the legislature approves the MOHELA sale, the life science facilities developed will have to be open for both ethical and unethical life science ventures: human cloning and research that destroys early human life.
2. MOHELA' s mission is to provide affordable low-interest loans to college students. These loans are badly needed. The University of Missouri, for example, has the highest tuition of any Big 12 school. Part of its historic mission is to provide access to higher education to a wide sector of Missouri citizens. Selling the MOHELA assets makes higher education less accessible to Missouri families.
3. MOHELA's assets have been built up by the customers it serves - college students paying off loans for attendance at both public and private universities like St. Louis University and Rockhurst University in Kansas City. In fact, a disproportionate amount of the loans extended by MOHELA are to students at Missouri's Catholic colleges and university. However, the sale proceeds will only be used to assist state universities. The private universities that helped to build the wealth of MOHELA will receive no benefits from the MOHELA sale, and, in fact, will be harmed because their students will have fewer options to obtain financial assistance.
Thus, for many Catholic families in Missouri, this is triple hit on their moral values, their pocketbooks and their hopes for a quality Catholic education for their children. First, the moneys they have paid into MOHELA will be used for human cloning and other unethical research which destroys innocent human lives. Second, it will cost these families more to send their children to college. And third, the assets of MOHELA, which come from their hard-earned dollars, will be sold only for the benefit of public higher education, which will put Catholic colleges and universities at
a greater disadvantage as they seek to attract students, quality teachers and community support.
Some may argue that the November 7, 2006 election gives a mandate for funding embryonic stem cell research and human cloning. But Amendment 2 passed by about 50,000 votes out of over 2 million votes cast. This certainly does not constitute a mandate. Supporters of Amendment 2 spent over $30 for each vote cast in favor of the amendment. Normally, the legislature supports funding of projects for which there is a reasonable level of consensus. Furthermore, there are plenty of programs that are
under-funded at this time. Many low-income parents, for example, lost their Medicaid health coverage in 2005 because of a severe state budget shortfall. Yet the governor's proposal would give speculative life science experiments priority over providing basic health care to the poor, the elderly, veterans and low-income working families.
Some suggest that life science research must go forward for the economic progress of our state. But no economic "progress" can justify the taking of any human life. If the research is valid and ethical, it will win the public's approval in the market and move forward. Why should this particular business - biotech - be singled out for special treatment and taxpayer money? Missouri should not establish a government subsidized life science industry.
WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW:
Don't let up now! Your calls, letters and e-mails are beginning to have an impact, but more constituent pressure is needed!
* Contact your State Senator and State Representative immediately (see hyper-linked rosters at the end of this ActionGram. Note: Complete legislator information will not be available until January 3, 2007);
* Pass this ActionGram on to friends and neighbors and encourage them to contact their state lawmakers;
* Post this ActionGram in church, parish and Knights of Columbus halls, Catholic schools and other places where it will be seen.
* Have the following message placed in the Sunday bulletin.
MOHELA sale will fund human cloning! The state legislature will soon consider the sale of $350 million in assets of the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) for the construction of life science buildings at public universities. The Missouri Catholic Conference asks citizens to urge their state lawmakers to oppose the MOHELA sale. The MOHELA sale is poor public policy for the following three reasons: 1. The proceeds from the MOHELA sale can be used for unethical life sciences and human cloning;
2. The MOHELA sale will transfer money normally used to provide loan assistance to college students to the construction of life science buildings on the public university campuses; and 3. Even though a disproportionate amount of the MOHELA assets come from loan applications from Catholic college students, Catholic colleges and universities such as St. Louis University and Rockhurst University will realize no benefit from the MOHELA sale - all the money will be used for construction at public (not private) colleges and universities.
* Report back to the MCC on what your legislators are saying. Contact us at email@example.com or call toll-free at 1-800-456-1679.
ROSTER OF STATE SENATORS: http://www.senate.mo.gov/06info/senalpha.htm
ROSTER OF STATE REPRESENTATIVES:
It's official. The Catholic Knight is retired. I'm hanging up the helmet and passing the torch. There will be no more articles, no more commentaries, no more calls to action. THIS BLOG IS CLOSED. I've spent a very long time thinking about this, I believe the time has come, and is a bit overdue. I want to thank my readers for everything, but most especially for your encouragement and your willingness to go out there and fight the good fight. So, that being the case, I've spend the last several weeks looking for bloggers who are fairly active, and best represent something akin to the way I think and what I believe. I recommend the following blogs for my readers to bookmark and check on regularly. Pick one as your favourite, or pick them all. They are all great.....
Friday, December 29, 2006
Amendment 2 -- ROUND 2
From the Missouri Conference of Catholic Bishops (MCC)...