The fight continues for opponents of Amendment 2
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The fight continues for opponents of Amendment 2

Date: November 8, 2006
By: Lucie Wolken
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY -  Spokespersons for the broad coalition of organizations opposing Amendment 2 say that despite the passage of the initiative, their fight is not over. 

The organizations that make up the coalition include Missouri Right to Life, Missouri Catholic Conference, Campaign Life Missouri, Equal Forum, the Missouri Family Network as well as smaller grassroots efforts across Missouri.

"We knew from the very beginning that no matter what happened yesterday our work isn't finished," state President of Missouri Right to Life Pam Fichter said.  "This is an issue that is going to be on our plate for quite some time...nothing changed yesterday as far as that goes, we will continue to deal with the issue of human cloning and destructive research."

While the opposition says they are going to continue the fight, how they plan to implement this fight they say is still unsure.

"Right now we are dealing with it from the more general perspective and we are not going to be more specific than that right now," Fichter said.  "Everyone will come with their thoughts and their ideas and it's a very dedicated and talented group of people and we will make decisions.  I don't want to speculate on what that would look like"

On the other side, Connie Farrow, spokesperson for the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures says that the vote made clear public opinion. 

"Hopefully they will look at the vote and see that Missourians want to be treated the same as other Americans when it comes to their health care," Farrow said.  "They don't want politicians deciding medical issues for them.  Our Coalition became the largest ever formed in Missouri to support a ballot initiative and we think that speaks well to the support for stem cell research."

The Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures is focusing on ensuring voters across the state that the amendment that everything they have said about Amendment 2 and what it does is accurate. 

Larry Weber, executive director of the Missouri Catholic Conference, says that embryonic stem cell research has been an ongoing issue since 2001 and that his organization has been fighting to educate Missourians on the ethical issues at stake since then.  According to Weber, the passage of the amendment does not change that goal. 

Despite Tuesday's results, Fichter said that the outcome of the vote is a a positive development for their cause.

"Look at where we were just a very short time ago," Fichter said.  "Two months ago we were 30 points down and we were very narrowly defeated yesterday."

According to Jaci Winship, spokeswoman for Missourians Against Human Cloning, in addition to the small margin of victory, the language that appeared on the ballot helped proponents because it mislead voters to believe they were voting against human cloning when in fact, Winship says, they were not. 

"We have no idea how many people voted 'yes' who inadvertently thought they were banning human cloning," Winship said.  "[The outcome] doesn't say that a majority of people are in favor of this by any stretch of the imagination."

According to Fichter, had the language been more clear, the vote may have been decided in their favor

"[There] are people who have to be counted ultimately on our side," Fichter said.  "Even though their votes did not come down on our side yesterday."

Weber says that the Missouri Catholic Conference is not disappointed.  

"We were outspent almost 30 to 1," Weber said.  "On the other hand we were able to get the word out to Missouri voters, and this thing passed by a very small margin.  Obviously there is no great consensus for the people of Missouri for either human cloning or this type of stem cell research."

The next step for opponents who remain standing strong against Amendment 2 has still not been determined, according to Winship, Fichter, and Weber.

"We are going to regroup," Winship said.  "The coalition leaders will all get together and we will talk.  The issues haven't really gone away.  This amendment is still a bad amendment.  It still protects human cloning, endangers women, and opens the door to tax dollars for this funding.  I'm not sure how that battle will play out, but it is an important battle to protect our state."

Farrow says that proponents are just as willing to continue their fight if necessary.

"Right now its important to acknowledge that both sides feel very passionately about this issue," Farrow said.  "Hopefully at the end of the day we can come together and find some common ground and put the best interest of Missourians first."