Thousands Of Missourians With Abnormal Chromosome Structures Are Not Human

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures revealed a consequence of the deceptive and far- reaching initiative petition filed last week by opponents of embryonic stem cell research: It is so poorly worded and scientifically unsound that it would exclude 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 basic science. 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 and poorly written initiative, but there's one that's immediately clear. If you're one of the thousands of Missourians with a chromosome abnormality, this initiative declares you not to be human and enshrines that definition into our constitution. I find that deeply troubling, and I suspect most Missourians will as well."

The initiative states: "(2) For all purposes within this Constitution, "Human organism" means human life in any stage. Human life begins with an initial 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."

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Many common genetic diseases occur when a deviation occurs in the number of chromosomes transferred. In addition to citizens with 47 chromosomes who suffer from Down syndrome, and individuals with Turner syndrome who usually have 45 chromosomes, countless other Missourians with various genetic disorders do not have a "complete set" of genetic information through small chromosomal variations.

Added Dena Ladd, a longtime child and patient advocate, "It's bad enough that this initiative's supporters would ban some of the most promising stem cell research and potentially lifesaving stem cell cures our families need. But that they'd be so careless in pursuing that goal speaks volumes about the heartlessness 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 other Americans. 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 proposed initiative's plan to redefine "cloning" is really a disguised attempt to repeal the stem cell guarantees established by voters last year.

Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures promotes cures for diseases such as Parkinson's and diabetes in Missouri. It is a grassroots group which includes more than 100 leading patient and medical organizations and more than 60,000 Missouri citizens.

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