Stem-Cell Research Debate Invades the World Series


Oct. 26, 2006 — -- Barring another rainout, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jeff Suppan will be pitching not once, but twice, during Game 4 of the World Series tonight in St. Louis.

Suppan will be the starting pitcher against the Detroit Tigers, and he will also throw his hat into the ring of the Missouri Senate race.

Not the race for the actual seat, of course, but into the crowd of famous faces that has turned the battleground state of Missouri into something of a political "celebrity death match" over the issue of embryonic stem-cell research.

"Amendment 2 claims it bans human cloning, but in the 2,000 words you won't read, it makes cloning a constitutional right," Suppan says, staring into the camera during the first 10 seconds of the minute-long ad.

"Don't be deceived," he says.

The amendment is a controversial measure on the Missouri ballot that would provide constitutional rights to embryonic stem-cell research.

The ad, produced and distributed by Missourians Against Human Cloning, was in the works prior to the 30-second ad that ran during Game 1 and featured actor Michael J. Fox.

Visibly shaking from the tremors associated with his Parkinson's disease, Fox endorsed Democratic senatorial challenger Claire McCaskill because of her support of embryonic stem-cell research.

McCaskill is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Jim Talent, who is a known opponent of stem-cell research and, not surprisingly, also opposes the amendment.

"I support the St. Louis Cardinals and Jeff Suppan, but he's out in left field on this one," said Connie Farrow, spokeswoman for Missouri Coalition for Life-Saving Cures, a group that supports Amendment 2.

Farrow says supporting Amendment 2 ensures that any stem-cell research, treatments or cures allowed under federal law will be permitted in Missouri.

Cathy Ruse, spokeswoman for Missourians Against Human Cloning, told ABC News on Tuesday that the group had spent in the neighborhood of $150,000 to broadcast the ad regionally during Game 4, which was rained out on Wednesday and is rescheduled for today.

She said the group hoped to raise enough money to continue broadcasting the ad through the Nov. 7 election.

Fox's ad made tremendous political waves after conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh suggested on Monday that Fox had faked his tremors in the ad for effect, though Limbaugh later apologized.

The anti-amendment ad featuring Suppan never mentions a specific candidate, but in this election cycle in Missouri, the race for the Senate has become linked with the issue of stem-cell research.

In the ad, Suppan appears alongside Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner, Kansas City Royals first baseman Mike Sweeney, Patricia Heaton of "Everybody Loves Raymond," and James Caviezel of "Passion of the Christ."

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