by Steven Ertelt
November 11, 2004
Springfield, IL (LifeNews.com) — Members of the Illinois state Senate will vote on legislation next week that would allow human cloning to create and kill human embryos for scientific research. The bill creates a public policy that the "use of human embryonic stem cells, human embryonic germ cells … from any source" is permitted for research in Illinois.
Pro-life groups strongly oppose the legislation (HB 3589) and they say that the language in the bill is so vague that stem cells could be obtained by abortions.
"House Bill 3589 sanctions human cloning, the purposeful destruction of human embryos, and the donation of cadaveric fetal tissue (from aborted fetuses) for medical research," Zachary Wichmann of the Illinois Catholic Conference said in a statement about the legislation. "It undermines the sanctity of human life and must be defeated."
The Illinois state legislature is headed back to town for a two week lame-duck session prior to the start of the next legislative session in January.
According to Wichmann, this could be the last attempt to pass the bill, which previously cleared the state House. If the state Senate fails to approve the legislation, lawmakers must start over during the next legislative session and take a bill back through the committee process and the state House.
The Illinois Catholic Conference says it is conducting an all-out effort to defeat the legislation and plans Sunday bulletin inserts this weekend educating parishioners on the bill.
Meanwhile, the Illinois Federation for Right to Life also opposes the bill. It says that human cloning to produce stem cells is unnecessary when adult stem cells, which are more effective and come from ethical sources, are available.
"That claims of embryonic stem cells being used to cure all of the diseases that are incurable today have been clearly exaggerated and that adult stem cell research which pro-life supports has actually been used therapeutically to treat leukemia and other diseases since the 1980’s," IFRL said in a statement.
According to a May 2002 Gallup poll the public is opposed to the cloning of human embryos for use in medical research by 61%-34%.
"We cannot stress enough how important it is for pro-lifers from around this state to be contacting and lobbying their senator to vote no on HB 3589," the pro-life group said.
HB 3589 is sponsored by Senator Schoenberg, an Evanston Democrat. A vote on the bill is expected Tuesday.