Petition carriers will be out among the Christmas shoppers in the next few weeks, trying to protect high-tech health research. The petition is the one that protects stem cell research. It’s backed by various medical organizations and groups representing people with life-threatening illnesses. The head of the group promoting the petitions, Donn Rubin, says voter approval would assure Missourians they can get advanced medical treatments, and would protect researchers working with stem cells to provide those treatments. The proposed constitutional amendment specifically bans cloning. The movement to get voter approval of the amendment mobilized after some state lawmakers proposed a ban on cloning that many thought would criminalize some kinds of stem cell research. It died in the face of opposition from the Governor. Rubin expects opposition to the petition proposal to come from groups that supported that bill, but he says they are far in the minority. The petitioners have to get 145,000 signatures by May if the matter is to be on the November ballot.