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Guest Column: Doctor backs anti-cloning initiative

Sept. 14, 2007

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As a spinal-cord injury specialist, I have dedicated my career to improving the lives of my patients. Over the years, as medical research has progressed, one of the biggest challenges for physicians like me has been to bridge the gap between providing hope and providing false hope.

The new Cures Without Cloning initiative, which would amend the Missouri Constitution to prohibit human cloning and taxpayer funding of human cloning, is about hope.

It is about allowing us to focus our medical research on promising, safe methods to find lifesaving cures and treatments, but doing it without human cloning, which is dangerous, unproven and outside the mainstream of society.

Those who allege human cloning is necessary in the pursuit of these cures and treatments are providing false hope.

The Cures Without Cloning initiative would only prohibit research involving human cloning - nothing more, nothing less. There are plenty of promising research methods, including many forms of stem-cell research, that do not involve human cloning.

Perhaps this is why so many doctors across the state are supporting this common-sense initiative.

Why do we need a prohibition on human cloning? Simple: Because the Missouri Constitution currently only prohibits some cloning. It does, though, permit the same form of human cloning that created Dolly the sheep.

This isn't a religious issue; this isn't an economic-development issue. It's an issue of doing what's right for our patients; it's about allowing medical researchers to focus on safe, proven research techniques, rather than throwing away our tax dollars.

But it seems to me that turning our backs to safe, proven research techniques, while continuing to throw endless tax dollars toward dangerous, unproven human cloning experiments, is wrong.

The Cures Without Cloning initiative does not prohibit stem-cell research. Actually, by prohibiting human cloning, the researchers of our state will be able to focus on the exciting areas of stem-cell research that show real promise and real hope.

The cloning prohibition simply prohibits human-cloning experiments.

We should embrace the exciting promise of cures and treatments that stem-cell research can bring, but we should do so by resoundingly rejecting the practice of human cloning.

My patients deserve hope, and they deserve the best efforts from medical researchers.

By supporting the Cures Without Cloning initiative, we can provide hope, we can provide an honest search for lifesaving cures and treatments, and we can do so without the dangerous, unnecessary practice of cloning human beings.

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