By John Connolly and John Jalsevac

  JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri, February 21, 2008 ( – A Missouri judge has ruled in favor of a challenge, filed by the pro-life group Cures without Cloning, against language that was adopted by the Missouri Secretary of State for the ballot title of an anti-cloning amendment. The group claimed that the Secretary of State’s language for the amendment title, which they are attempting to have placed on the November 2008 ballot, was unfair and biased against the anti-cloning proposal.

  Judge Patricia Joyce agreed with the group, and ruled that the ballot title, which was penned by the office of Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, was “insufficient and unfair.” The judge instructed the court to pen a new form of the amendment title.

  While Judge Joyce did not specifically elaborate on how the wording was found deficient, she did invoke previous Missouri rulings which have stated: “Insufficient means ‘inadequate; especially lacking adequate power, capacity or competence.’ The word ‘unfair’ means to be ‘marked by injustice, partiality, or deception.’ Thus, the words insufficient and unfair . . . mean to inadequately and with bias prejudice, deception and/or favoritism state the consequences of the initiative.”

  Carnahan’s office, however, claims that its description of the amendment was fair and accurate.

  The original ballot title, as certified by the Secretary of State, was much vaguer than Cures without Cloning’s proposed language, and cast the amendment in more negative terms. The title asked voters whether they would like to amend the Missouri Constitute to “limit Missouri patient’s access to stem cell research, therapies and cures” by “redefining the ban on human cloning or attempted cloning to criminalize and impose civil penalties,” and “prohibiting hospitals or other institutions from using public funds to conduct such research.”

  The new title, however, is more specific about the particular type of research that will be banned. It asks if the Constitution should “be amended to change the definition of cloning and ban some of the research,” by “prohibiting human cloning that is conducted by creating a human embryo at any stage from the one-cell stage forward.”

  The title also specifically puts the amendment into more positive terms by explicitly making the often-fudged distinction between embryonic and adult stem cell research. The amendment, the title says, shall allow “stem cell research for therapies and cures that complies with these prohibitions.” It also states that the amendment would “prohibit expenditure of taxpayer dollars on research or experimentation on human cloning.”

  Now that its legal challenge is resolved, a spokesman for Cures without Cloning said supporters plan to start gathering the petition signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot.

  Read Justice Joyce’s decision:

  See a side-by-side comparison between Cures with Cloning’s ballot initiative, and the initiative ultimately adopted by the Secretary of State:

  See previous coverage:

  97% of Funding for Missouri Embryo Research Bill from Giant Biotech Company Which Stands to Profit Big

  Missouri Legislators Propose to Ban Cloning ~ This Time for Real

  Missouri Citizens Duped into Permitting Human Cloning