Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt (R) continues to support a stem cell research-related state ballot measure but will not campaign for its passage, Blunt spokesperson Spence Jackson said, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (Mannies, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 7/13). The proposal, titled the Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, would allow stem cell research that involves somatic cell nuclear transfer, which some consider a type of human cloning. Somatic cell nuclear transfer is conducted by inserting the genetic material from a patient's cell -- usually from a skin cell -- into an unfertilized egg from another person. The patient's genetic material incorporates into the egg and causes it to develop into an embryo that is a genetic match to the skin cell patient. Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, the initiative's sponsor, has submitted to the Missouri secretary of state 288,991 signatures as part of a petition to put the proposal on the statewide ballot in November (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 6/8). After Blunt announced he supports the proposed initiative, Missouri Right to Life said the governor is no longer "pro-life" (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 3/14). Jackson said Blunt will not campaign for the measure because he "has his own set of priorities that he wants to devote his attention to." According to Mannies, if travel time "means anything, the governor's current priorities include easing tensions" with social conservative groups and advocates, who "have been furious with him over his stem-cell stance" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 7/13). Blunt toured the state on Tuesday to promote his signing into law a bill (HB 1485) that gives a tax credit for donations to crisis pregnancy centers that do not perform abortions or refer women to clinics that perform the procedure (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 7/13). Jackson said Blunt's travels after signing the bill gave the governor an "opportunity to reaffirm his longstanding pro-life credentials" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 7/13).

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