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MRL Position Statement on Proposed “Raise Your Hands for Kids” Tobacco Tax Initiative

The following statement can be attributed to Steve Rupp, President of Missouri Right to Life:

Because the proposed tobacco tax initiative specifically limits in Section 54(a) the use of the funds raised by this initiative to early childhood education programs, access to quality early childhood health and development programs, and smoking cessation and prevention programs, and further, the initiative provides that funds shall not be diverted to any other purpose, Missouri Right to Life can not envision any scenario whereby said funds could be used to pay for abortions, human embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, euthanasia, assisted suicide or any other process that would be a threat to life. Certainly, the termination of life would not qualify as a childhood health and development program.

While Section 54(b) specifically prohibits the use of the raised funds for human cloning or research, clinical trials, or therapies or cures using human embryonic stem cells, as defined in Article III, section 38(d), it is not necessary as life threatening uses do not fall within the narrow, limited allowable uses of the funds as noted in the above paragraph. Section 54(b) is mere surplusage as it relates to pro-life protections. It is not necessary. While some may claim that a loophole in the language of Section 54(b) will allow for funding of abortions, the fact is that any possible loophole in Section 54(b) is irrelevant as the limited uses set out in Section 54(a) preclude such use of these funds.
Since the limited uses to be made of the tobacco tax funds established in Section 54(a) will not allow for any life threatening uses, Missouri Right to Life will maintain a position of neutrality on the “Raise Your Hands for Kids” initiative as it is currently written.
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