South Dakota Lawmakers Promote Complete Human Cloning Ban

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 16, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Dakota Lawmakers Promote Complete Human Cloning Ban

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 16, 2004

Pierre, SD ( — Members of the South Dakota state legislature are pushing forward with legislation that would ensure the state bans all forms of human cloning. The proposal, that enjoys the backing of pro-life groups, made it through a state House committee on Friday.

The House Health and Human Services Committee, on a 12-1 vote, approved the anti-cloning legislation and pro-life Sen. Jay Duenwald (R) said it would close loopholes that would led scientists engage in reproductive human cloning.

South Dakota already has a law in place banning experiments on human embryos, which would prevent scientists in the state from cloning human embryos to be killed in research for their stem cells.

Richard Doerflinger, a bioethicist with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the current South Dakota law is one of the strongest in the nation against destructive or harmful experimentation on human embryos, including cloned embryos.

However, the bill is needed, Doerflinger says, because the current law "may not prohibit creating the embryos by cloning in the first place" and "cloning for ‘reproductive’ purposes might not be banned." This new law will close those loopholes.

"This and other new laws, when enacted, should receive attention because they show that the Korean announcement, while it may show that human cloning is possible, has done nothing to show lawmakers that it is a good or acceptable idea," Doerflinger said.

Rep. Kathy Miles (D-Sioux Falls) agreed with the intent of the legislation and said, ”South Dakota should simply prohibit human cloning for any purpose."

Some researchers say they oppose the legislation. Dennis Duncan, of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association of America, said his group prefers to let the federal government regulate human cloning.

Duncan, in an Associated Press report, also said he was worried that South Dakota scientists would be prosecuted under the bill if they collaborated with scientists from states that allow human cloning.

The legislation would also prevent materials involved in human cloning from being transported into the state.

The bill, SB 184, was previously approved by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee by a vote of 6 to 0, then by the full Senate on January 29 by a vote of 33 to 1.

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