What is MOSIRA?
What is MOSIRA?
MOSIRA is The Missouri Science Innovation and Reinvestment Act. MOSIRA sets up a fund, channeled through the state budget, to be administered by the pro-cloning Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC), to provide state money and/or tax incentives for new technology businesses, including those engaged in human life science research.
MOSIRA also places the Life Science Research Trust Fund, established in 2003 as the vehicle to receive and administer the funds received from the Tobacco Settlement Money, under the control of the MTC.
Who is the Missouri Technology Corporation?
The MTC is a quasi-governmental agency established by the Legislature and Governor in 1993. The MTC has been at the front of the controversy of public funding for life sciences research since 2000. Most of the board members of the MTC are appointed by the Governor and will operate under the guidelines of statute 348.250-348.275 known as MOSIRA.
Legislative oversight and Missouri “sunshine” laws are extremely limited based on the wording of MOSIRA as you will read below. Those involved in promoting MTC as the administrator of public monies for life sciences research, including experimentation on human embryos and human cloning, through MOSIRA were actively involved in supporting Amendment 2 and are still advocates for unrestricted research in Missouri.
The former head of the MTC was Donn Rubin, the leading spokesperson for Amendment 2. He still serves on the MTC Board of Directors and is currently Chairman of the MTC’s Strategic Planning and Policy Committee.
Why did Missouri Right to Life oppose MOSIRA?
The MTC through MOSIRA will grant public money to businesses engaged in life science research, which could include abortion-related services, human cloning or embryonic stem cell research. MRL promoted an amendment to MOSIRA that provided clear and specific language preventing use of public money for that unethical research. That amendment was not adopted by either the House or the Senate. Without such language, MRL opposed the bill.
Doesn’t MOSIRA contain reporting language that will prevent unethical research?
The reporting language contained in MOSIRA requires any agency performing human cloning or embryonic stem cell research to report that research at the beginning of each calendar year. They would also have to announce the recipients of any funding ten days prior to that distribution. Some legislators and supporting organizations asserted that such reporting requirements would give adequate information to the legislature which could then withdraw funding of MTC through the appropriations process.
These reporting requirements are not a true prohibition of public monies being used for abortion services, human cloning and embryonic stem cell research. Because of the faulty definition of human cloning in section 38 (d) of the Missouri Constitution (commonly known as Amendment 2), agencies won’t have to report true cloning, but would only have to report the implantation of a clone into a woman’s uterus.
Reporting after life-destroying research has already taken place means that embryos, either cloned or created through IVF, and aborted babies can become products for research. Thus, an after-the-fact reporting requirement in such situations occurs after human lives have been destroyed and could not reasonably be seen as adequate protection for those lives.
Another problem with the reporting language of MOSIRA is the clause that says if those in control of the MTC believe that proprietary information will affect the profitability of the recipient organization of public dollars that they, MTC and/or the recipient of public dollars, can close the reporting records. This will be a vote from the board of the MTC and close the door to any legislative oversight.
The reporting of recipients only ten days prior to payment will not allow any organization enough time to investigate every tentacle of every recipient organization to discover if the money allocated to it would be used for unethical research. Further, there is the danger that, as time passes, the knowledge and understanding of MOSIRA, will fade from people’s memories and unethical researchers will be free to conduct whatever research they want.
This was not an issue of binding the hands of future legislators but rather telling future legislators what the concern is regarding the funding of MOSIRA and that they should be on guard to make sure that unethical research is not being done with state monies.
What was the language proposed by Missouri Right to Life?
Public funds shall not be expended, paid, or granted to or on behalf of an existing or proposed research project that involves abortion services, human cloning, or prohibited human research as defined in section 196.1127.
Was the language proposed by MRL already in Missouri Statute?
Yes, section 196.1127 contains the same language but it does not apply to the funds generated by MOSIRA.
Was the language proposed by MRL unconstitutional?
The Section 196.1127 language has not been determined to be unconstitutional. In 2009, Judge Richard Callahan stated in Missouri Roundtable v. Steelman that the legislature could make restrictions in the appropriations of funds, and to date there has been no challenge of that. Judge Callahan stopped short of any ruling on the language of 196.1127 which gives the same pro-life protections to the Life Sciences Research Fund. Therefore, when given the opportunity to rule 196.1127 unconstitutional he did not.
Simply calling something “unconstitutional” does not make it so. In order to get a judicial ruling on the constitutionality of the above language supported by MRL, someone with standing would need to file a law suit challenging that language. No pro-life group would do so because the language protects our public dollars from being used for unethical research. Only those who seek to do the research prohibited by the language would benefit from challenging the language; and since according to the legislature no one desires to do that research, no one would challenge the language.
Couldn’t the legislature handle this issue through annual appropriations?
This assumes that all future legislatures will be pro-life and oppose funding for unethical research, which provides little reassurance for those interested in preventing unethical research now and in the future. And it assumes that future legislators will be aware of the dangers to human lives through MOSIRA funding.
It is also possible that Amendment 2 will require any appropriation for unethical research, once made, to be made in perpetuity as the language states “no state or local governmental body or official shall eliminate, reduce, deny, or withhold any public funds provided or eligible to be provided to a person that (i) lawfully conducts stem cell research.” Supporters of MOSIRA claim that is not the case because of court decisions supporting the legislature’s power to appropriate. (The Kansas City Symphony case and the Redmond case.) However, those cases dealt with statutory provisions which could not trump the legislature’s constitutional power to appropriate and in fact the language in the statutes in issue specifically stated “subject to appropriation”. Amendment 2 is a constitutional provision without the same restrictive language.
Was Missouri Right to Life the only organization that supported the pro-life amendment?
Missouri Roundtable for Life, Concerned Women for America, Eagle Forum, and the Missouri Catholic Conference all supported the language listed above.
Is Missouri Right to Life anti-business?
No. MRL has taken a strong and consistent pro-life position on possible funding of unethical research. MRL does not oppose any jobs, business or economic development legislation unless that legislation threatens innocent human life. We don’t feel that we could fulfill our mission or our commitment to pro-life Missourians if we were to engage in compromises that would allow public monies to be used for life-destroying research.
Isn’t ESCR protected in the Missouri Constitution?
While ESCR is now protected under Article III, Section 38(d) of the Missouri Constitution, what MRL’s language sought to do was to prohibit taxpayer funding or incentives for this research.
Isn’t human cloning banned under Art. III, Sec. 38(d) of Mo. Constitution and 1.217 prohibits use of funds for human cloning?
The definition of human cloning in Art. III, Sec. 38(d) is unscientific and inaccurate. Section 1.217 only prohibits state funding of a clone through to birth. As long as the clone is killed prior to delivery (all 9 months of pregnancy), the prohibition would not apply.
Aren’t monetary inducements for fetal research on aborted babies already banned by statute (188.036 RsMo)?
188.036 RsMo only prohibits public funds from paying for the fetal tissue on which the research is to be conducted. Once the research labs have the tissue, whether by purchase with private funds or from donations by abortion clinics, there is no statute prohibiting public funding of the research itself.
Was Missouri Right to Life accurate in equating a blastocyst to an embryo?
A blastocyst is an embryo. In MOBIO’s briefing memo to the legislators, it specifically states, “Blastocysts used for ES cell research …”. ES stands for Embryonic Stem cell research. The fact is that the same human life exists with its full compliment of male or female DNA from the moment of conception through every stage of development to adulthood. As Horton proclaims, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
Is MRL’s concern unfounded since MTC claims never to have spent one penny on any MTC project related to human stem cell research?
This is at least partially true because MRL has worked diligently to prevent funding for this research. MRL hopes to prevent MTC from funding any embryonic stem cell research. On the other hand, MRL encourages MTC to fund adult stem cell research.
Also, the MTC does not do the research, they distribute public monies to businesses and business incubators in the fields of scientific research, including life sciences research, and those companies do the research.
Supporters of unrestricted research claim that they support therapeutic cloning only rather than reproductive cloning. What’s the difference?
What’s the next step?
A line in the MOSIRA legislation (SB 7) states that SB 7 cannot be enacted unless the Missouri Legislature also enacts SB 8, which is the economic development bill commonly called “Aerotropolis” or “the China hub.” SB8 did not pass.
Oddly enough, some of the same legislators who said they voted against our amendment because they think it’s unconstitutional had no problem voting for MOSIRA with the language tying the 2 bills together that they are now claiming is also unconstitutional.
MRL is researching the validity of the MOSIRA legislation given that SB8 did not pass and considering whether a court challenge is proper or necessary.