Compelled by Clonaid’s latest claims crediting itself with the first-born human clone, House representatives Dave Weldon (R-FL) and Bart Stupak (D-MI) on Wednesday reintroduced the Human Cloning Prohibition Act, calling for a total ban on reproductive as well as therapeutic human cloning. The current bill stipulates that violators may face prison sentences as well as fines as high as $1 million, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Already, Weldon and Stupak have received the support of 80 co-sponsors, and the House is expected to consider the legislation in late February or March.
The human cloning bill introduced last year passed the House 263-162; however, the Senate version stalled when some legislators sought exemptions for research purposes. A similar path through the now Republican-controlled Congress is expected.
Opponents to the bill then and now contend that therapeutic cloning—the cloning of specific human cells, genes and other components that alone do not develop into a human being—is critical to finding future treatments and cures for diseases. A spokesman for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) argued, “It would be unconscionable to stop that research and dash the hopes of [millions of people with incurable diseases],” according Kaisernetwork.org.
The Feminist Majority, along with other advocates, believes that cloning research should continue unheeded, because cloned embryos are the ideal source of stem cells, which are used for researching new treatments and cures for many diseases.
Human cloning is currently banned in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The US, France, and Germany are presently reviewing legislation.
Media Resources: FoxNews 1/9/03; Salon 1/8/03; Kaisernetwork.org 1/9/03; Orlando Sentinel 1/9/03; Feminist Daily Newswire