Bush Administration Supports Complete Ban on Human Cloning
The Bush administration said yesterday at a House hearing that it is opposed to human cloning "for any purpose," including research aimed at finding cures for diseases, the Los Angeles Times reports. HHS Deputy Secretary Claude Allen, testifying yesterday before the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee, said that the administration favors a bill (HR 1664) sponsored by Rep. Dave Weldon (R-Fla.) that would make it a federal crime to produce a cloned human embryo, though stopped short of giving the bill "full support" due to some unresolved "technical issues" (Zitner, Los Angeles Times, 6/21). Weldon's bill, titled the "Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2001," would ban the technique known as somatic cell nuclear transfer, a process in which DNA is removed from an egg, replaced with the genetic material from another cell and induced to reproduce. Violators could be fined $1 million and receive up to 10 years in prison. Other legislation, such as a bill (HR 2172) introduced by Rep. Jim Greenwood (R-Pa.) would ban the implantation of a cloned human embryo and "subsequent birth" but would "preserv[e] the possibility of human cloning for stem cell research." Allen said that although there are "still technical details that need to be worked out" in both Greenwood's and Weldon's bills, the administration "leans toward" Weldon's measure because it "is closer to HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson's and President Bush's position opposing" somatic cell nuclear transfer for both reproductive and research purposes (CongressDaily/ AM, 6/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.