New Jersey Legislature Passes "Most Radical" Cloning Bill Ever

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 16, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Jersey Legislature Passes "Most Radical" Cloning Bill Ever

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 16, 2003

Trenton, NJ ( — The New Jersey state assembly on Monday by a 41-31 vote passed what pro-life advocates are calling one of the most radical human cloning legalization bills ever proposed. If the bill is signed by the governor, as is expected, it will be legal in New Jersey to implant cloned human embryos into wombs, allow the baby to grow for nine months, and then destroy the unborn child for research.

The bill prohibits the use of human cloning for reproductive purposes, but allows cloning to create unborn children only to be killed — either early after their creation for their stem cells or at any time before their birth.

Advocates of cloning and embryonic stem cell research said their bill was about compassion towards others by helping to find cures to diseases.

"Today, we are about to take significant action on a significant bill to help a significant amount of people," Assemblyman Neil Cohen (D), the bill’s sponsor, said. "Do this for your children and your grandchildren."

But Assemblywoman Allison McHose Littell warned that the bill would allow women to have "cloned cells put into her womb and then harvested."

"We are about to put New Jersey on the map as a thriving market for fetal stem-cell parts," she said.

Gov. James McGreevey (D) has already said he would sign the bill, saying it provides hope to New Jersey residents suffering from difficult diseases.

Pro-life groups say the use of adult stem cells provides a more ethical and effective alternative.

Two statewide pro-life organizations said they strongly opposed the legislation and that it would have a chilling effect on the regard for human life.

"According to this bill, body parts could be taken through all nine months of pregnancy," said Anne Perone, president of New Jersey Committee for Life. "Such trafficking in human tissue is already a booming sideline of the abortion industry."

"These lawmakers’ actions will result in the creation of a foul climate where ghoulish human experimentation and organ harvesting will be performed and human embryo and fetal farms will flourish throughout our state," added Marie Tasy of New Jersey Right to Life.

"Because the prohibited conduct of cloning a human being draws the line only at the newborn stage, abortions up to the day of delivery would be authorized under this legislation," noted Tasy.

Tasy said pro-life advocates in New Jersey will look to Congress to pass a ban on all forms of human cloning as soon as possible to invalidate the New Jersey bill.

Neither group indicated whether they will take the legislation to court once it is signed into law.

The bill doesn’t provide funding from the state government for the destructive research, but does require fertility clinics to inform women that they may donate their leftover human embryos to be destroyed in research.

The bill received the 41 votes it needed to pass, but only after legislators had an emotional debate and intense lobbying on the floor.

When the votes in favor of the bill stalled at 37, Assembly Speaker Albio Sires left the voting board open for 10 minutes, an unusually long time, while the search for extra votes continued.

The New Jersey state Senate passed the bill 26-0 in December 2002.

To see how your member of the New Jersey Assembly voted on the legislation, go to

Related web sites:
New jersey Committee for Life –
New Jersey Right to Life –