Washington State Bill Allows Human Cloning, Embryonic Stem Cell Research

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

Washington State Bill Allows Human Cloning, Embryonic Stem Cell Research

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 9, 2005

Olympia, WA (LifeNews.com) — New legislation in the Washington state legislature would allow human cloning and embryonic stem cell research. The bill comes on the heels of an announcement by Governor Christine Gregoire, who has proposed a billion-dollar Life Sciences Discovery Fund for biomedical research.

The bill received a hearing Tuesday in a state Senate committee and Randall Moon, a member of the Exploratory Center for Human Embryonic Cell Research, said he knew of more people who would conduct such controversial research in the state if the pass passes.

Sen. Jean Kohl-Welles, a Seattle Democra’t, put forward the legislation since state law doesn’t address human cloning or embryonic stem cell research. He proposed a similar bill two years ago.

According to an Associated Press report, Gregoire also attended the hearing and expressed her support for the measure and two other bills putting her proposal on paper.

Not everyone supports the ideas — including some scientists and pro-life organizations.

Dr. Sharon Quick, a Pierce County physician representing the American Academy of Medical Ethics, opposed the bill and said that human life begins when the embryo is formed at conception. As a result, destroying human life through cloning or killing unborn children for stem cells is inappropriate.

"My question then is, `When does it become a person?”’ Quick said, according to the AP story. "We are crossing a line that protects human life.”

Meanwhile, Gregorie is proposing using $350 million in bonus money that Washington is getting from a legal settlement with the tobacco industry. She would then use matching grants to boost the fund to a billion dollars.

Critics say the money is intended to fund health care, not unproven research.

Pro-life groups also say embryonic stem cell research has not resulted in any medical breakthroughs so far. In fact, the initial trials have proven disastrous. A number of bioethicists also object to such research on ethical grounds because it involves the destruction of living human embryos.

In contrast, adult stem cell research, which does not involve the taking of human life, has resulted in numerous successful therapeutic treatments.