Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Missouri pro-life groups have thrown down the gauntlet over therapeutic cloning (somatic cell nuclear transfer). From Jo Mannies' column today:
Sam Lee, head of Campaign Life Missouri, an anti-abortion lobbying group that backs the ban, says, "The cloning issue is separating the true pro-life Republicans from the politically pro-life Republicans. It is coming down to a battle within the party over which will take precedence, money or moral values."
Governor Matt Blunt said, "no outside group decides who runs state agencies. I make those decisions." In this particular case, Mannies had asked Blunt if the pro-life lobby in Missouri had pressured Blunt not to appoint Sen. Betty Sims, R-Ladue, as state health director. Sims has a great deal of experience with the department and state health issues. However, Sims drew the ire of the pro-life community for helping to uphold then-Governor Mel Carnahan's 1997 veto of a bill banning partial-birth abortion which Sims said was unconstitutionally worded. Sims later supported a different version of the bill.

Despite Blunt's correct assertion that the governor is the only person who appoints the director of state agencies, he has in the past allowed affected industry heads to vet the person who will run the supervisory agencies.
Dale Finke, Blunt's nominee to run the Department of Insurance, was one of three names submitted to Blunt by a five-member committee of insurance company executives, lobbyists and representatives of the medical profession.

Blunt declined Monday to name the industry insiders who are helping him pick his Cabinet. Blunt said those decisions were personnel matters that are confidential under the state's Sunshine law.

- Murphy

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