Louisiana Ban on All Human Cloning Advances in Legislature

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 7, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Louisiana Ban on All Human Cloning Advances in Legislature

by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
May 7, 2004

Baton Rouge, LA (LifeNews.com) — Two bills regarding human cloning have been presented in the Louisiana legislature, and while both claim to be human cloning bans, they are in fact on opposite sides of the debate.

Rep. Gary Beard (R-Baton Rouge) has introduced a wholesale ban on human cloning, HB 803, which has cleared the Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice by a 5-4 vote. The measure will now be presented to the full House on Monday.

A similar bill, proposed by Senate President Donald Hines (D-Bunkie), at first looks almost identical.

Both are called human cloning bans, and both call for fines of $5 million for an individual’s violation of the law, and $10 million for a violation by a corporation. The difference lies in Hines’s definition of “cloning” in SB 74, which he limits to nuclear transplantation among human cells with the intent to initiate a pregnancy. In fact, his measure specifically states that the bill “does not prohibit scientific research or a cell-based therapy not specifically prohibited.”

Hines’s bill is still in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.

Rep. Beard has pointed out that his total human cloning ban does not impede research, as his opponents, including Senator Hines, have accused.

“The intent of this legislation is to prevent the cloning of humans,” said Rep. Beard. “It is not to stop research."

Beard added that opponents of his bill place a “false hope” in embryonic stem cell research. As of yet not a single useful embryonic stem cell line has been created, and all breakthroughs in stem cell research have been done with adult stem cells, which do not require the destruction of human life.

"Being from a family of diabetics where death and blindness has affected my family, I would never put a bill through that would intentionally hurt anyone," Rep. Beard said.

Beard’s measure has the backing of a group of pro-life organizations.

“We want real cures now available from ethical adult stem cell research, not illusory promises from unproductive embryo research,” the Louisiana Coalition for Ethical Stem Cell Research said in a statement. “Creating human life simply for the purpose of destroying it is immoral, unethical and should be illegal.”

The Coalition is comprised of the American Family Association of New Orleans, Concerned Women for America of Louisiana, Hippocratic Resource, Louisiana Family Forum, Louisiana Lawyers for Life, and Louisiana Right to Life Federation.

Iowa, Arkansas, Michigan, and North Dakota have all enacted wholesale bans on human cloning and the House of Representatives has passed a federal version of the legislation.

Currently New Jersey has the most extreme pro-cloning legislation in effect, allowing for the cloning, implantation, and destruction of human life from the embryonic through the newborn stages of prenatal development.

Related web sites:
Louisiana State Legislature – https://www.legis.state.la.us
Louisiana Right to Life – https://www.lartl.org