Opponents of research on early stem cells plan to hold a rally at the Missouri Capitol on March 7 in support of a proposal to repeal Amendment 2.

   The St. Louis Review, the Catholic Archdiocese's weekly newspaper, reports that biologist David Prentice will be the rally's keynote speaker.

   Prentice, a former life sciences professor at Indiana State University, is now a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, a leading lobbying group of the Christian right based in Washington. Prentice is best known in Missouri for his testimony during Senate hearings two years ago on a proposed ban on cloning human cells.

  Prentice also was featured last year in a television ad attacking Amendment 2, the ballot initiative that protected all stem cell research permitted by federal law.

  The St. Louis Review described Prentice as "a former stem cell researcher." However, Prentice told The Kansas City Star in 2005 that he had never published a scientific paper regarding stem cells.

   Amendment 2, which was approved by 51 percent of voters last November, already prohibits attempts to clone a human baby by making it a felony to try to implant cloned cells into a woman's uterus. But opponents also seek to ban scientists from cloning a patient's cells in search of a cure for an illness or injury.

   Opponents will wear read and plan to lobby legislators from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Missouri Right to Life, an anti-abortion group, has organized several buses to take participants from the St. Louis area to the rally.

Posted by Kit Wagar