House OKs Human Cloning Ban, Rejects Research Amendment
The House yesterday approved a bill (HR 2505) sponsored by Rep. Dave Weldon (R-Fla.) that would outlaw all forms of human cloning in the United States, a decision that may have consequences for the future of embryonic stem cell research, the Washington Post reports. The 265-162 vote came after six hours of "heated scientific and ethical debate" during which the House voted 251-176 to reject an amendment (HR 2172) offered by Rep. Jim Greenwood (R-Pa.) that would have banned human cloning for reproductive purposes but permitted researchers to clone human embryos for medical research purposes (Weiss/Eilperin, Washington Post, 8/1). The House-passed bill would bar U.S. scientists from cloning human embryos and from importing "cloned products" for research. The bill also imposes a $1 million fine and a 10-year prison sentence on anyone found in violation of the law (Willing, USA Today, 8/1). "This sends a signal to the American people that the Congress is prepared to draw the line and ban human cloning," Weldon said (Washington Post, 8/1). President Bush praised the passage of the bill, saying in a statement, "The moral issues posed by human cloning are profound and have implications for today and for future generations. Today's overwhelming and bipartisan House action to prohibit human cloning is a strong ethical statement, which I commend. We must advance the promise and cause of science, but must do so in a way that honors and respects life" (Kuhnhenn/Boyd, Philadelphia Inquirer, 8/1). Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) said that the bill "provid[es] moral leadership for a watching world," adding that "[a]llowing the creation of cloned embryos by law would enable anyone to attempt to clone a human being" (Carter, AP/Chicago Sun Times, 8/1).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.