Missouri No Public Funds for Stem Cell Research Initiative (2010)

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The Missouri No Public Funds for Stem Cell Research Initiative is a citizen-initiated ballot initiative, proposed as an initiated constitutional amendment to the Missouri Constitution, whose supporters hoped to qualify it for the 2010 ballot in Missouri.[1] However, it did not appear on the ballot.

A petition sample form was approved for circulation by the Missouri Secretary of State's office on December 15, 2008. The official ballot title was certified on January 29, 2009.

Official ballot title

The official ballot title was:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to make it illegal for the legislature or state or local governments to expend, pay, or grant public funds to hospitals or other institutions for certain research and services, as defined by the general assembly in section 196.1127, Revised Statutes of Missouri, 2003, such as abortion services, including those necessary to save the life of the mother, and certain types of stem cell research currently allowed under Missouri law?

Fiscal impact estimate

According to the fiscal estimate produced by election officials, "This proposal could have a significant negative fiscal impact on state and local governmental entities by prohibiting the use of public funds for certain research activities. Federal grants to state governmental entities for research and medical assistance programs may be in jeopardy. The total costs to state and local governmental entities are unknown."

Lawsuits

See also: 2010 ballot measure litigation

Several lawsuits were filed against the Missouri Secretary of State's office with regard to this ballot initiative.[2][3]

  • Supporters of abortion rights (who are opposed to this initiative) filed a lawsuit claiming that the ballot title written by Robin Carnahan's office does not fully explain that the initiative, if approved, could bar abortions at public hospitals and possibly also put the state in conflict with Medicaid requirements.[4]
  • Missouri Roundtable for Life, supporters of the initiative, say that Carnahan's title is biased and misleading in such a way as to artifically skew public perception against the initiative.[4]
  • Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, a group that supports stem cell research, has filed a lawsuit with Cole County, Missouri judge Patricia Joyce asking that the ballot initiative be invalidated on the grounds that it does not follow the proper format for initiatives as laid out in the Missouri Constitution.[4]
  • Missouri Roundtable for Life filed a lawsuit accusing Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, Attorney General Chris Koster and State Auditor Susan Montee of conspiring to treat the measure unfairly. Missouri judge Patricia Joyce dismissed claims of conspiracy and constitutional rights violations while upholding the ballot summary for a proposed constitutional amendment dealing with abortion.[5]

Survey data

According to research conducted for Missouri Roundtable for Life, 48 percent of those polled said they supported an initiative "to make it unlawful to expend, pay, or grant any public funds for abortion services" while 41 opposed it. Using the language inserted by Carnahan, which adds that the funding ban also applies to abortions including "those necessary to save the life of the mother," the support fell to 38 percent while opposition increased to 44 percent. A similar shift was found in the language for the stem cells provision.[6]

Path to the ballot

To qualify for the ballot, signatures were required to obtain, from registered voters, equal to 8% of the total votes cast in the 2008 governor's election from six of the state's nine congressional districts.

The sponsor of the initiative was:
Todd Jones
Missouri Roundtable for Life
231 South Bemiston Ave., Ste. 800
St. Louis, MO 63105

See also

External links

Additional reading

References