April 13, 2024


Are backers of therapeutic cloning buying support in Missouri? An article in the St Louis Post-Dispatch has analysed the spending in a vigorous campaign for an amendment to the state constitution which would legalise cloning. Those in favour have outspent those against by 14 to 1 -? US$28 million to $2 million.

Nearly all of the funds for the Coalition for Lifesaving Cures have come from a single philanthropic couple, Jim and Virginia Stowers, who have bankrolled the Stowers Institute, a first-class new medical research facility in St Louis. Support is broad for the initiative, claim supporters, even though the Stowers have given 97% of the funding so far. But opponents complain that it is not a broad-based citizen’s initiative. “This isn’t grass roots,” says a political scientist at the University of Missouri at Columbia. “This is Astroturf.”

By Missouri standards, the sums are staggering. The stem cell campaign is already more than twice as costly as any campaign for a Missouri ballot measure. The amount spent by supporters is greater than the total spent by all candidates combined in any race to date for any state office, including governor or Federal senator. “This isn’t even close to David and Goliath,” says a political scientist at Missouri State University. “I can’t even come up with a good metaphor.”