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Stowers Institute Only Has Itself to Blame as MO House Restricts State Funding of Life Sciences

Posted Apr 16 2009 12:10am
When the Stowers Institute Crowd financed and passed Amendment 2, it not only created a constitutional right to do human cloning research in Missouri, but as I pointed out during the campaign, it added a superfluous provision stating that if one kind of stem cell research received state support, other kinds could not be discriminated against. The purpose was--as we warned and the pro A. 2 debaters denied--to set the stage for state funding of Stowers and other efforts in the fields of ESCR and human cloning.

The ploy expected legislators to fund unethical research so that ethical research could also be funded. But that tactic has blown up in its face. The Missouri Legislature funds life sciences, but carefully restricts its scope so as to not put taxpayer money into areas that would also require cloning or ESC research to be funded. From HB 7, section 7.020, which just passed the MO House by a whopping 114-37 vote:
No later than December 31, 2009, the Life Sciences Research Board shall submit to the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Chairman of the House Budget Committee an annual report containing, at a minimum: a description of each grant awarded... These funds shall be used exclusively on projects in the fields of animal science, plant science, medical devices, biomaterials and composite research, diagnostics, nanotechnology related to drug development and delivery, clinical imaging, or information technology related to human health.
A court recently validated this approach against lawsuits claiming somehow that the state has to fund ESCR. Meanwhile, the Stowers Crowd continues to whine that it can't get researchers to move to MO to conduct unethical research because of these unfair restrictions. From the story:
"Expansion [of the Stowers Institute] probably now is more threatened by economic realities than it is by political realities. The economics of building a $300 million building are much different today."

"Political realities" translate to the parts of Missouri where much stem cell research is opposed. Although Stowers, founder of American Century Investments, heavily supported a successful 2006 referendum to amend the state constitution to protect certain forms of stem cell research
[Me: actually SCNT cloning research, but the Star is the most biased newspaper in the country when reporting on this issue] , some Missouri lawmakers vowed to continue fighting against that research.

[William] Neaves said that had made it difficult to recruit top scientists, but now the institute is encouraging a pair of prominent stem cell researchers in Massachusetts--who had funding from the Stowers--to bring their labs to Kansas City. That funding is set to expire next year and will not be renewed. Both Kevin Eggan and Chad Cowan are considering whether to establish research programs at the Kansas City institute, Neaves said.
Stowers literally has billions, and it can fund whatever research it pleases. Its threats of funding restrictions to these researchers unless they move to Stowers, thus, must be seen as being about bully politics, not financial inability.

This is the power of non cooperation. Its message is clarion. Good for the legislators of MO for not buckling.
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