John Kerry Sponsors "Clone and Kill" Legislation Pro-Lifers Oppose

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 15, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

John Kerry Sponsors "Clone and Kill" Legislation Pro-Lifers Oppose

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 15, 2004

Washington, DC ( — Senator John Kerry has attached his name to a "clone and kill" bill that pro-life organizations oppose because it allows scientists to clone unborn children only to be killed to obtain their stem cells for use in research.

The likely Democratic presidential nominee, on Tuesday, signed on as a cosponsor of the Human Cloning Ban and Stem Cell Research Protection Act, S. 303.

Some have called the legislation a ban on human cloning. Though it prohibits the grisly practice for reproductive purposes, the legislation allows the "clone and kill" practice for research.

Kerry’s cosponsorship of the legislation comes at an interesting time.

He has joined other lawmakers and some in the research community who are putting intense pressure on President Bush to reverse his August 2001 policy prohibiting federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

Kerry has been using the issue to paint Bush as a religious extremist and claims his pro-life views prevent patients with various diseases from obtaining potentially beneficial treatments that scientists may someday derive from embryonic stem cells.

That may explain why Kerry suddenly signed on to legislation that has been sitting for over a year and isn’t expected to receive a Senate vote anytime soon.

The "clone and kill" legislation was introduced in February 2003 and the last senator to cosponsor the bill, Vermont’s Jim Jeffords, attached his name to the legislation over a year ago.

President Bush and pro-life groups support a competing bill sponsored by Kansas Republican Sam Brownback.

Senator Brownback’s legislation bans both forms of human cloning — reproductive and so-called therapeutic — and has 28 co-sponsors.

The House of Representatives already passed a total human cloning ban similar to the Brownback bill, and pro-life lawmakers want the Senate to follow suit.

"[Utah] Senator [Orrin] Hatch and others in the U.S. Senate need to stop blocking a total ban on human cloning so we can proceed to protect the dignity of human life," New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith said. "We also need an international ban on human cloning."