Louisiana Bill Allowing Destructive Research Only Cloning Bill Left

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 13, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Louisiana Bill Allowing Destructive Research Only Cloning Bill Left

by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
May 13, 2004

Baton Rouge, LA (LifeNews.com) — Louisiana’s legislature has now considered three human cloning bans, but only Senate President Don Hines’ bill, the only one to allow destructive embryonic stem cell research, has been spared sabotage or walkouts. The fiasco has been referred to as Louisiana’s "Clone Wars."

Senator Art Lenini (R-Metairie) proposed a bill which would have banned all human cloning as Beard’s bill was originally intended. But, at a hearing Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, several members of the panel walked out of the meeting room when the cloning ban came up.

However, Hines’ bill, SB 74, cleared the Senate Health and Welfare Committee Wednesday, without having anyone speak against it. Pro-life advocates were waiting in the hall and were allegedly not informed that the bill was coming to a vote.

Hines’ bill, while considered a human cloning ban, bans only reproductive cloning, not what has been called "therapeutic cloning," or human cloning with the intent to destroy the human embryo and harvest stem cells for research. SB 74 now heads to the Senate floor for consideration.

Earlier, Rep. Gary Beard (R-Baton Rouge) had introduced HB 803 as a bill to ban all human cloning, like Lenini’s. Rep. Eric LaFleur (D-Ville Platte) proposed an amendment to Beard’s bill, making it identical to Hines’ and allowing human cloning for research purposes.

Realizing that his purpose for the bill had been sabotaged by his colleagues, who voted 55-42 to amend the bill, Beard pulled it from further consideration.

"An embryo is a human life," said Danny Loar of the Louisiana Catholic Conference, which opposes the destructive human research. "It doesn’t matter if you are creating it through the cloning process and making a deliberate decision to use it for research."

Gov. Kathleen Blanco has not stated her position on the different human cloning bans that have been proposed, although she does believe the state needs some sort of ban on human cloning.

Rep. Beard had pointed out that a 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."

During debate on his bill, Beard stated 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 had 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