CLONING: Sens. Feinstein and Kennedy Introduce Human Cloning Ban
Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA) yesterday introduced their bill mandating a ten-year moratorium on human cloning. The Washington Times reports that Sen. Christopher Bond (R-MO) will put forth a bill today "prohibiting human cloning using 'somatic cell nuclear transfer' -- the technique Scottish scientists used last year to clone Dolly the sheep." The Bond bill would prohibit the use of cloned human embryos for research purposes (Larson, 2/3). In a statement, Bond said, "The fundamental difference between our bill and Feinstein/Kennedy is that our bill would not allow rogue scientists to create human embryos by cloning and then experimenting on them. ... The failure of Feinstein/Kennedy to ban cloning of human embryos is a fatal flaw" (release, 2/2). Two bills drafted by Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) are also pending, the Times reports. Ehlers, a research physicist, seeks to "forbid anyone from producing a human clone using somatic cell nuclear transfer, and also [to] prohibit federal funds from being used to conduct such cloning research."
What's It All About
"At issue is whether scientists should be able to use cloned human embryos to conduct research," the Times reports. The "[m]ore expansive legal language" of some bills "would define human 'cloning' as occurring only if the embryo were actually implanted in a woman's body." However, "some cloning opponents vehemently reject any research involving cloned human embryos, often for moral and religious reasons." Gary Bauer, president of the Family Research Council, said, "Human life begins at conception. Cloning of human embryos is entirely unacceptable." Sean Tipton, director of government relations for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, said, "The problem is that [House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX)] and his allies have an agenda that goes far beyond cloning. We can have legislative prohibition [of human cloning] and it can be clear and noncontroversial. But if you drag it into the abortion debate, you might not get the cloning ban you are seeking" (2/3).