Bills Favoring Human Cloning, Embryonic Stem Cell Research Back in Congress

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 16, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Bills Favoring Human Cloning, Embryonic Stem Cell Research Back in Congress

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 16, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Two bills that favor human cloning and embryonic stem cell research were reintroduced on Wednesday. They join a third bill promoting the grisly research and will increase the intensity of the Congressional debate on the issues.

Reps. Michael Castle, a Delaware Republican and Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, brought back their bill to overturn President Bush’s stem cell research funding policy and allow taxpayer dollars to be used to pay for embryonic stem cell research.

Meanwhile, a group of six senators reintroduced their bill to allow scientists to clone human embryos for the sole purpose of destroying them to obtain their stem cells.

Neither bill has received a vote in the House or Senate and pro-life groups hope lawmakers will instead back measures sponsored by Senator Sam Brownback and Rep. Dave Weldon that would ban all forms of human cloning.

Last May, 58 Senators and 206 Representatives, representing both parties, signed letters encouraging President Bush to reverse his policy against federal funding of new embryonic stem cell research. The sponsors of the reintroduced bills hope to use that as a basis on which to build support.

However, pro-life groups are urging pro-life advocates to contact Congress and make their views known opposing the two bills and backing the Brownback and Weldon human cloning bans.

"It is important for pro-life citizens to tell their federal representatives that they support President Bush’s policy against funding research that requires the killing of human embryos," Douglas Johnson of National Right to Life, told

The biotech lobby applauded the resurrection of the two bills.

"Given recent studies which show the cell lines in existence cannot be used for human therapies, expanding the current federal policy is the only way to push this field of research forward," said Daniel Perry, president of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research.

In August 2001, President Bush prohibited funding new embryonic stem cell research but authorized more than $190 million on studies using adult stem cells, which have already produced treatments for dozens of diseases.

The president has reiterated his position against human cloning and funding research destroying human life and would veto any bill doing that. He also wants to take his policy one step further by putting restrictions on any research involving human embryos.

Meanwhile, Connecticut Rep. Nancy Johnson is floating a bill that would spend $10 billion on grants to states to conduct stem cell research, including the kind that destroys human life.

The Castle-DeGette bill would probably be vetoed, which is part of the impetus for the Johnson legislation. She hopes her bill will be approved because it would not require states to engage in the research and only those which want the bonds would get them.

Senators introducing the measure allowing human cloning include Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Gordon Smith (R-Oregon), Edward Kennedy (D- MA), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

ACTION: Contact any Representative at or any Senator at