For Immediate Release
Anti-Cloning Group Sued to Shut Down Website
Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures Sues Group Sponsoring Ban on Genetically Altered Humans
Jefferson City, MO (March 9, 2006) – The Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, which has spent millions to promote a petition initiative prohibiting regulation of destructive embryonic stem cell research, filed suit in federal court yesterday against the Elliot Institute, sponsor of the Coalition to Regulate Human Engineering and Human-Animal Crossbreeding.
The suit comes on the day after a petition initiative filed by the Elliot Institute was approved for form by the Attorney General’s office and posted on the Missouri Secretary of State’s Elections Division’s web site. The Elliot Institute initiative seeks to amend the Missouri constitution to erect a preemptive ban on human engineering, including cloning, genetic alteration of humans, and the creation of human animal hybrids.
According to Dr. David Reardon, a biomedical ethicist and spokesperson for the coalition, the proposed amendment will get the “loose cannons” in bioengineering, including some Nobel Laureates, under control. He includes among the “loose canons” those who envision creating human-animal hybrids, “super-babies,” and deliberately brain-damaged babies for use as organ donors.
“These proposals sound like science fiction, but a large group of influential scientists and businessmen are diligently working to turn them into our reality,” said Reardon, a resident of St. Charles, MO and director of the Elliot Institute.
“These visionaries have signaled their intent to pursue radical biotech endeavors and earn billions through the creation of genetically enhanced ‘super-babies,’” he said. “For example, James Watson, who won the Nobel Prize for describing DNA structures, wants unrestricted human embryo research in order to ‘cure stupidity’ through pre-embryonic genetic manipulations.
“They have the money, the brainpower, and the motivation to pull it off,” said Dr. Reardon. “Plus, in their rush toward patents and profits, they’re cutting corners. Worst of all, there is not a single law standing in their way … and we will all pay the price for their mistakes.
“The human genome is so complex we know Murphy’s Law will apply. There will be countless mistakes and unintended effects,” he added. “Experts are already warning that current experiments mixing human and animal genes may speed the cross-over of animal viruses into humans, as happened with HIV and the avian flu.”
The coalition’s goal is to reverse the legal presumption that any experiments that involve altering human genes and human embryos that are not specifically banned are legal. The proposed initiative would erect a preemptive ban on nearly all possible forms of human engineering.
In the suit against the Elliot Institute, the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures alleges that the Elliot Institute is “an anti-abortion group” which is promoting “another initiative . . . that is directly opposed to the stem cell policy goals promoted by the Missouri Coalition.”
Reardon believes the conflict between the two groups is not about goals, but rather about means. “We’re not against progress, only against the short-cuts and loose cannons that will inevitably lead to mistakes and disasters that will hurt thousands or even millions of people.”
“Our proposal will allow and encourage ethical experiments with animals,” Reardon added. “But before these technologies can be used on people, scientists will have to come to the voters to convince us that using these technologies on humans is wise and beneficial.
“The whole point of erecting this preemptive ban is that the public should have a say about which future this biotechnology will take us to. The ramifications of these technologies are too profound to be left to individual decisions of scientists or biotech entrepreneurs. Voters should get the final word on whether these human engineering projects are good for society.”
The suit by the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures seeks to shut down the web site www.elliotinstitute.org through which the ban on human engineering initiative is being promoted. The suit alleges that the similarities in the layout and use of identical stock photos may confuse the public.
“The decision to have a similar look reflects an effort to mock the fact that the Lifetaking Cures initiative only pretends to ban cloning,” said Reardon. “In fact, their initiative only requires that human embryos created using cloning techniques must be killed during or after the experiment.”
He says that satire is a protected form of speech, adding, “This suit is just an attempt to obstruct criticism of their Trojan Horse initiative which is craftily designed to clear the way for eugenicists to perfect their skills in redesigning human life.”
Organizations and concerned citizens who support regulation of human engineering are encouraged to become members of the Coalition to Regulate Human Engineering and Human-Animal Crossbreeding and can learn more about it at www.elliotinstitute.org.
# # #
Interviews with Dr. Reardon can be arranged through Amy Sobie at the Elliot Institute’s Springfield Office (217) 525-8202