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Joe Ortwerth's
 Jeff City Update
Missouri Family E-News March 16, 2009
 
Senate Committee
Advances Religious Liberty Amendment
 
A Missouri Senate committee has given the green light to legislation which would protect the religious liberties of Missouri citizens.  The Senate Committee on General Laws has reported out favorably Senate Joint Resolution 12, sponsored by Senator Delbert Scott.  SJR 12 is a proposed constitutional amendment which would assure that a citizen's right to pray and express their religious beliefs cannot be infringed.  Liberal and atheist interests like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Americans United for Separation of Church and State have waged a relentless campaign to stifle any acknowledgment of God in the public arena. The measure would guarantee the right of children to pray and acknowledge God on a voluntary basis in public schools.  It would also protect the privilege of government bodies to invite clergypersons to offer invocations before public meetings.  The committee endorsed the proposal on a unanimous vote.  Senators Dan Clemens, Carl Vogel, Scott Rupp, Ryan McKenna, Yvonne Wilson, sponsor Delbert Scott, and committee chairman Jack Goodman all voted in favor of the proposal.  If adopted by the full General Assembly, it would go to a vote of the people in a statewide election next year.   
 
Missouri House Votes to Protect Women and Children
 
The Missouri House has voted overwhelmingly to protect women from the lies of the abortion industry.  The House of Representatives has given final approval to legislation promoted by the Missouri Family Policy Council which would strengthen the state's informed consent law.  A key feature of the bill requires that a pregnant woman be given the opportunity to see an ultrasound of her child 24 hours before she is scheduled for an abortion.  The bill also makes it a crime to coerce a woman to have an abortion against their will.  The bill was sponsored and steered to passage by Rep. Bryan Pratt of Blue Springs, the Speaker Pro Tem of the House.  The House gave final passage to the bill by a vote of 115-43.  The bill now moves to the Senate, where pro-abortion senators will do all they can to block its progress.  Please continue to pray for all 34 senators that they will recognize the life-saving significance of this legislation to women and children in Missouri.  
 
 
Make Your Voice Heard in Your Government
 
The goal of our Jeff City Updates is to provide you valuable information about issues and people in state government from a Christian values perspective.  This information equips you to be an active and engaged Christian citizen in communicating your concerns to your elected representatives.  It also helps you focus your prayers on specific people who need intercession, and specific subjects that call for measures of God's Grace.
 
We hope you continue to find the Jeff City Update to be informative and instructive.  Should you have any questions or comments, please contact us by e-mail at info@missourifamily
org
, by phone at (636) 536-0014, or by mail at the address below. 
 
Please be in prayer for our ministry as we work to promote Biblical principles and Christian convictions in the hallways of the State Capitol.  Please also remember us in prayer as we seek to share the love and hope of Jesus Christ with legislators, legislative staff, lobbyists, and all those who frequent our State Capitol.
Bill Sponsored to Bar Funding for Human Cloning 
 
Legislation has been introduced in the Missouri General Assembly which would ban the use of state and local funds for human cloning or abortion.  Senate Joint Resolution 17, sponsored by Senator Jim Lembke, would amend Missouri's Constitution to outlaw any "expenditure, payment , or grant of public funds for abortion services, human cloning, or prohibited human research" as defined in state law.  If approved by the Missouri Legislature, the joint resolution would be placed on a statewide ballot for possible ratification by Missouri voters.
 
"I will continue to work to ensure that our tax dollars at the state level are not going to unsafe, unethical, and unproven methods of research, " Lembke stated in offering his bill.  "It is my goal to protect life at every level, and to also ensure that our public dollars are not going to abortion services."
 
The proposal is a response to the passage of Amendment 2, which made human cloning a constitutionally protected practice in the state of Missouri.  Amendment 2 was narrowly approved by state voters in the November 2006 general election.  Proponents claimed that passing the amendment would lead to "lifesaving cures" for a multitude of human diseases, and falsely stated that the proposal banned human cloning.  To the contrary, the amendment made the cloning and destruction of human embryos a constitutionally guaranteed right. 
 
The language of Amendment 2 stated that "any stem cell research permitted under federal law may be conducted in Missouri."  Because there is no federal law prohibiting embryonic stem cell research, it is "permitted."  Thus, in Missouri, researchers have the freedom to clone human life under a process they like to euphemistically call "SCNT" (somatic cell nuclear transfer.)  Proponents used to call it "therapeutic cloning" until they realized it was an admission that it really was cloning. 
 
Under SCNT, the nucleus of a body (or somatic) cell is introduced into an ovum (or egg cell) that has had its nucleus removed.  The cloned embryo is an identical twin of the person who donated the beginning body cell.  Once the new embryo has reached five to seven days old, embryonic stem cells are harvested from the embryo, resulting in its destruction and death. 
 
Amendment 2 was a response by the cloning industry to efforts by then-Representative Lembke and Senator Matt Bartle to prohibit human cloning under Missouri law.  The cloning industry mounted an initiative campaign, spearheaded by the Stowers Institute out of Kansas City, to win passage of Amendment 2.  Despite spending over $30 million, the proposal only squeaked through by a slim 51 to 49 percent margin. 
 
The funding ban sought in Senator Lembke's joint resolution is designed to counteract a key provision in Amendment 2.  That language stated that no state or local government can "eliminate, reduce, deny, or withhold any public funds provided or eligible to be provided to a person that lawfully conducts stem cell research."  That language has been a source of continuing controversy and court battles, but clearly gives cloners avenues to secure public funds.
 
While the new proposal would close the door to government funding, it would not place limits on the legality of human cloning itself.  Efforts to establish a real ban on human cloning through an initiative petition were being pushed by the Missourians Against Human Cloning organization.  Those efforts were frustrated by actions by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan to completely distort the ballot summary for the initiative effort.
 
With regard to abortion, Lembke's amendment would take a major step forward.  While there are currently prohibitions in state law against use of state revenues for abortion services, the Legislature could act to change that at any time.  If such a  ban were placed in the state Constitution, it could only be changed through action by the voters.
 
Please be praying in thanksgiving for men like Senator Lembke and Senator Bartle.  They have repeatedly demonstrated the courage to stand up to the self-serving corporate interests and the agressive business lobbyists who have been championing the cloning industry.   We are grateful for their heartfelt respect for the sanctity of human life. 
 
We pray that other legislators will join them in putting an end to experimentation on human embryos and the thoroughly immoral practice of seeking to fashion human life according to man's designs.  Our high-tech culture must dare not assume the role of our Creator.  Sadly, man is creating human life to corrupt and destroy it.  God creates human life to save and bless every one of his children.