Missouri Lawmakers Holding Hearing on Human Cloning Ban Bill

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 1, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 1, 2005

Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — Missouri lawmakers held the first of two hearings Monday night on a bill that would ban all forms of human cloning in Missouri. Pro-life groups support the measure because it would also prohibit cloning used in research.

The Senate Judiciary Committee held the hearing on the bill, sponsored by Sen. Matt Bartle.

"This is an ethical choice we must make," Bartle told lawmakers. “We need to use our good old Missouri common sense."

Legislators heard conflicting testimony about both human cloning and embryonic stem cell research. The biotech lobby opposes the bill because they claim stem cell research will be adversely impacted by it.

David Prentice, a Georgetown University researcher, spoke in favor of the bill and told committee members that adult stem cell research is just as effective as destroying human life for embryonic stem cells.

"Embryonic stem cells are unlikely to be of clinical use, and this issue is ethically contentious," Prentice said, according to a Columbia Missourian report.

However, Steve Teitelbaum, a Washington University scientist who works with embryonic research, claimed his brand of science is needed.

"Adult stem-cell research has limited potential," said Teitelbaum. “Opponents say that we have been unsuccessful in our attempts to effectively use this technique, but you can’t win the Kentucky Derby without a horse."

The biotech lobby has sent letters to legislators and is worried states like California, Illinois and Wisconsin are looking to take the lead in funding the controversial research and that Missouri will lag behind because it prohibits it.

Missouri Right to Life helped pro-life legislators prepare for the debate. They held a conference for 70 elected officials on bioethics issues over the summer.

"We are very much aware that the biotech people are out there, and they’re trying to cloud the issue and distort the language of the issue," Pam Fichter, an MRL representative, said.

The committee will hear more testimony on the bill on Wednesday.

Related web sites:
Missouri Right to Life – https://www.missourilife.org