Louisiana State Senate Passes Bill Allowing Some Human Cloning
by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
May 18, 2004
Baton Rouge, LA (LifeNews.com) — The Louisiana Senate passed a cloning bill Monday that prohibits human reproductive cloning but allows for destructive embryonic stem cell research, in which human embryos are cloned than destroyed as they are harvested for research purposes.
The senate voted 24-13 to pass SB 74, sponsored by Senate president Don Hines (D-Bunkie), after an attempt to amend the bill and make it a total human cloning ban was narrowly defeated by an 18-19 vote.
Sen. Hines’ bill has been the only human cloning bill to make any progress this session in the Louisiana legislature.
Senator Art Lenini (R-Metairie), who proposed the amendment to Hines’ bill, had his own total human cloning ban stall in committee when panel members walked out hen his bill came up.
Earlier, Rep. Gary Beard (R-Baton Rouge) had introduced HB 803 as a bill to ban all human cloning, like Lenini’s. That bill was successfully amended by Rep. Eric LaFleur (D-Ville Platte), 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.