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8-Humans: Human engineering ban initiative filed for November election in Missouri (USA)



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TITLE:  Human Engineering Ban Initiative Filed for November Election
SOURCE: Coalition to Regulate Human Engineering and Human-Animal
        Crossbreeding, USA
        http://www.earnedmedia.org/elliot0307.htm
DATE:   07 Mar 2006

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Human Engineering Ban Initiative Filed for November Election
Coalition Seeks to Regulate Genetic Alteration of Humans

To: National & State Desks

JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri, Mar. 7 /Christian Wire Service/ -- An initiative
to amend the Missouri constitution to erect a preemptive ban on human
engineering, defined as any act that genetically alters human gametes or
"nascent human life," has been filed with the Secretary of State's office.
The initiative is being put forward by the Coalition to Regulate Human
Engineering and Human-Animal Crossbreeding.

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. "They have the money, the brainpower, and the
motivation to pull it off. 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."

"The human genome is so complex we know Murphy's Law will apply. There will
be countless mistakes and unintended effects," said Reardon. "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.

"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 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 group is launching its first initiative in Missouri to capitalize on the
state and national attention already being paid to the stem cell cures
initiative sponsored by the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures.

"With Missouri voters beginning to focus on the issues of stem cells and
cloning," Reardon said, "this is a great time for voters to start grappling
with the larger picture of where we want to go with all of the possibilities
that advances in biotechnology offer us. We're not against progress, only
against the short-cuts and loose cannons which will inevitably lead to
mistakes and disasters that will hurt thousands or even millions of
people."

While the initiative in Missouri is the coalition's first effort, it is
preparing to pursue this same strategy through proposed referenda,
legislation, and treaties worldwide.


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.

Contact: Amy Sobie, for the Elliot Institute, 217-525-8202


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