by Steven Ertelt
November 18, 2004
Springfield, IL (LifeNews.com) — Illinois lawmakers on Thursday voted down legislation that would allow human cloning to create and kill human embryos for scientific research.
On a 28-29 vote, the Illinois state Senate voted against a bill that pro-life groups opposed because it permitted embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and research using tissue from abortions.
Pro-life lawmakers said it was wrong to destroy human life to advance research.
"You’re being asked to take one human life and cast it aside for the benefit of another,” said Sen. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton).
Other legislators said the bill should have banned all human cloning instead of banning it for reproductive purposes and allowing it for research.
"It is God’s province, not ours,” said Sen. Bradley Burzynski (R-Clare).
According to an Associated Press report, Sen. Jeffrey Schoenberg (D-Evanston), the bill’s sponsor, said scientists should be able to "work in a moral and ethical framework without the constraints placed upon them by politicians.”
Sen. Kirk Dillard, a Republican from Hinsdale, voted against similar legislation in May. Though he is pro-life, he support the bill this time around and said, "I believe that actual human life begins in the womb or at certain stages of reproduction, but not in a petri dish at eight or 12 days."
With the vote, the bill is dead for this legislative session. However, Schoenberg said he would bring the bill back when the state legislature returns for its next session next year.
The Illinois bill is the latest effort to promote embryonic stem cell research through the states. California voters approved a ballot measure to spend $6 billion in taxpayer funds for the controversial research. Wisconsin’s governor announced a $750 million proposal Wednesday.
Pro-life groups such as the Illinois Catholic Conference and Illinois Federation for Right to Life also strongly opposed the legislation (HB 3589).
The Christian Medical Association, the nation’s largest faith-based doctors group, had said the bill is "a wolf in sheep’s clothing," noting that it condones human cloning, encourages abortion for research, and betrays an ignorance of stem cell science.
The bill clearly states ‘that research involving the derivation and use of human embryonic stem cells…from any source, including somatic cell nuclear transplantation, shall be permitted," Dr. David Stevens, CMA’s president, explained.
"That’s human cloning. That’s the exact same cloning process that produced Dolly the sheep. And when Dolly was cloned, an overwhelming majority of Americans and legislators vowed that cloning would never be used on human beings," Stevens added.