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Letters to the editor for Nov. 1

Letters to the editor for Nov. 1

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Many reasons to defeat

tobacco tax amendment

There are multiple reasons to defeat the tobacco tax Amendment 3.

It does not mandate the use of the trust fund to cover only the health care of smokers with smoking-related problems; smokers will pay for it. It does not force the tobacco settlement funds to be placed into the trust fund; smokers also pay this. It does not force the existing tobacco taxes to be placed into the fund; smokers also pay. And most of all, it does not mandate a refund/rebate of general revenue taxes by a like amount, since the proponents are using the cost to taxpayers of smoking as a rationale to approve this amendment.

Should this proposition pass, our properly elected Legislature should see fit to take the correct actions.

First, they should limit the use of the funds to smokers and smoking-related illnesses. Second, they should abide by both the letter and the moral intent of the Hancock Amendment by not escalating state spending and should rebate an equivalent amount from the general revenue to the taxpayers, since it will no longer be needed for the stated purpose, smokers' health care.

I'm sure the proponents of the measure will be elated with both these actions, since they are so concerned about the cost to the taxpayer for treating smoking-related health problems.

James Cobble

St. Charles County

Amendment 2 wording

disguises cloning aspect

Like millions of Americans, I am for medical research and the advancement of medicine; however, when it comes at the cost of human life there is something wrong with society.

The proposed Amendment 2 to the Missouri Constitution known as the "Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative" does just that. What it allows is for scientists to "clone" human embryos and then kill them by extracting their stem cells. What this means is scientists are aborting children at their earliest stage of life (5- to 7-day-old human embryos) to do experimentation in hopes of finding a cure to an illness.

Because eight out of nine Missourians oppose human cloning, and the writers of Amendment 2 knew this, they included verbiage that this amendment would "ban human cloning" or attempted cloning. This, however, is a trick because they changed the definition of human cloning to not include somatic cell nuclear transfer. Medical science clearly states, however, that embryos created by somatic cell nuclear transfer are clones.

Is all stem cell research wrong? No, research done on adult stem cells has been effective in treating more than 65 illnesses. This research already receives funding and will continue regardless of whether Amendment 2 passes.

Adult stem cells come from umbilical cord blood, placenta, bone marrow and a host of other tissues. They are readily available and do not cause the death of a child.

Embryonic stem cells come from embryos made either by fertilization - where doctors take eggs from a woman and fertilize them with sperm in a laboratory - or by somatic cell nuclear transfer. The important point being if these embryos were placed in a woman's womb they would continue to develop into a child.

Six neighboring states have banned human cloning, which includes somatic cell nuclear transfer, and seven countries including France and Germany have also banned this unethical research. Please vote no on Amendment 2 and save a child's life.

Jeff Wall

Lake Saint Louis

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