Reps. Introduce Bill To Ban Reproductive Cloning and Cloning for Research Purposes
Reps. Dave Weldon (R-Fla.) and Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) yesterday introduced a bill that would ban both reproductive cloning and cloning for research purposes, the Associated Press reports (Carter, Associated Press, 1/8). Under the legislation, which is similar to a bill previously passed in the House, any person who attempts to clone humans for reproductive or therapeutic purposes could face jail time and be forced to pay up to $1 million in fines, the Orlando Sentinel reports (Suriano, Orlando Sentinel, 1/9). The bill would also outlaw the importation of cloned embryos, according to the Associated Press (Associated Press, 1/8). In July 2001, the House passed a bill (HR 2505) that would have banned all types of human cloning (American Health Line, 8/1/01). However, similar legislation (S 1899) introduced in the Senate by Sens. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and Mary Landrieu (R-La.) failed to reach the floor for consideration (California Healthline, 6/14/02).
The bill's reintroduction in the House follows Clonaid's Dec. 27 announcement that the first human clone had allegedly been born. Although no tests have been completed to verify the company's claims, Stupak said, "Whether it's a hoax or not, let's get this thing squared away once and for all" (CongressDaily/AM, 1/9). Weldon added that "[t]herapeutic cloning is a theoretical concept that has not been demonstrated to work in even a rat or a mouse yet. To me, it's really dishonest for people to hold out the issue of therapeutic cloning when it's a hypothetical (possibility) at best" (Orlando Sentinel, 1/9). Howard Gantman, a spokesperson for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who supports therapeutic cloning, countered that cloning for research purposes "offers hope to millions of people with incurable diseases," adding, "It would be unconscionable to stop that research and dash the hopes of those people." Weldon said that he hopes the bill will be up for consideration by the House in late February or March, CongressDaily/AM reports (CongressDaily/AM, 1/9). The Senate is also expected to consider a similar bill banning all human cloning (Associated Press, 1/8). According to the Sentinel, a total cloning ban is expected to pass the House but stall in the Senate, where legislators are divided over whether or not cloning should be used for research purposes. However, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), who supports a total ban on cloning, said he is "optimistic" that the Senate will pass such legislation this year (Orlando Sentinel, 1/9).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.