Monday, March 9, 2009

Obama Learns the Carnahan Cloning Con

The Drudge headline blares "Obama: No Clones!" In Missouri, we know all too well that no cloning means yes cloning. It seems the president has learned how to push cloning the Missouri way.

In 2006, Missouri narrowly passed Amendment 2 which, among other things, legalized cloning in the state. The campaign for the initiative was buoyed by deceitful ballot language by MO Secretary of State Robin Carnahan. At the ballot box, Carnahan's "Fair Ballot Language" told voters that Amendment 2 will "ban human cloning or attempted cloning."

She got away with this lie by mental reservation and a compliant press corps. Amendment 2 did ban reproductive cloning, but legalized cloning for medical research. That is, as long as a clone is destroyed in the course of medical research and not brought to term, it is legal under Amendment 2. Hence, the opposition rightly called it the "clone and kill" initiative.

While expanding federal funding for embryonic stem cell research today, the president utilized the same deceitful language employed so successfully in Missouri:
"We will develop strict guidelines, which we will rigorously enforce, because we cannot ever tolerate misuse or abuse," Obama said. "And we will ensure that our government never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction. It is dangerous, profoundly wrong, and has no place in our society, or any society."

Why not condemn cloning full stop instead of modifying the term "for human reproduction." In Missouri, at least, that distinction is employed to authorize cloning for medical research. We'll see what the actual federal guidelines are when they appear. One person who knows all about this sleight of hand, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill was certainly pleased:
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, told reporters that reversing the Bush ban would "once again say to the rest of the world that we will be the beacon for cures and for hope. I think it's a great moment, and I'm proud of [Obama] for reversing that executive order.”