Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Political ads

I try not to pay attention to the political ads on TV, mostly because I still vote in CA, but my TV is in CT. Here's one from MO:

And then here's what Family.org ("A Web site of Focus on the Family") wrote about it:
The TV spot appears as Missourians prepare to vote on whether or not to make human cloning a constitutional right.

Michael J. Fox, who is increasingly suffering from Parkinson’s disease, wants Missourians to support candidates who will legalize human cloning under the guise of stem-cell cures. Fox pulls at viewers’ heart strings in this TV spot.


“Amendment two claims it bans human cloning, but in the 2,000 words you won’t read, it makes cloning a constitutional right. Don’t be deceived. Buried in the 2,000 plus words of this amendment is a whole lot of legal jargon that Missouri voters will not see on the ballot box on November 7 th and it’s very important they understand what we’re really talking about here.”

I'm not sure, but I think this is the deceiving part to which they're referring (full text):
(13) “Stem cell” means a cell that can divide multiple times and give rise to specialized cells in the body, and includes but is not limited to the stem cells generally referred to as (i) adult stem cells that are found in some body tissues (including but not limited to adult stem cells derived from adult body tissues and from discarded umbilical cords and placentas), and (ii) embryonic stem cells (including but not limited to stem cells derived from in vitro fertilization blastocysts and from cell reprogramming techniques such as somatic cell nuclear transfer).

That last parenthetical clause, including "somatic cell nuclear transfer", that's cloning. Sort of. Somatic cell nuclear transfer is taking the nucleus (which contains the DNA) out of a somatic cell (like a white blood cell), and transfering it to another cell, usually an early-development embryonic stem cell. The result can be used for many purposes, like stem cell research. If you then try to implant that cell into a uterus, and let it develop into a fetus, which is then born and becomes a baby, that's commonly known as "human cloning".

But the amendment provides a provision for this! It bans human cloning because it bans any attempt at implanting anything besides the product of fertilization (such as in vitro fertilization).

So the law is clear: you can do somatic cell nuclear transfer, as long as you don't try to implant the result in a uterus.

It's the politicians who are deceiving you.

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