Stem-cell amendment fails in committee

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A proposal to undo the main goal of the recent amendment protecting stem-cell research failed in a House committee Monday night.

While the measure cleared a House health care committee about a month ago, the House Rules Committee also must sign off on legislation before it reaches the floor for debate. That panel rejected sending the bill forward Monday on a 4-3 vote with little discussion.

The legislation is likely done for the year, as lawmakers adjourn in less than three weeks.

Voters last year narrowly approved a constitutional amendment to guarantee that any stem-cell research allowed under federal law can occur in Missouri. Supporters' main objective was to head off legislative attempts to prevent a certain form of embryonic stem-cell research.

Anti-abortion activists say the research method, called somatic cell nuclear transfer, ends life at its earliest stages. Research supporters hope it could lead to cures for many diseases.

The constitutional change proposed by Rep. Jim Lembke, R-St. Louis, strikes at the heart of the voter-approved language. The measure would reword a ban on human cloning to make the embryonic research procedure illegal.

Stem-cell amendment is HJR11.

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