by Steven Ertelt
May 9, 2006
Topeka, KS (LifeNews.com) — A debate about whether or not Kansas should prohibit using taxpayer funds to pay for human cloning held up a state budget bill in the state Senate on Monday. The debate concerned a provision the House added making sure public funds can’t be used.
This is the second time the state Senate has addressed the issue of using tax money for human cloning and it defeated a similar ban in March.
"It’s just totally unethical to create human beings for research purposes," Jeanne Gawdun, of Kansans for Life, said about the need for the funding ban.
Lawmakers must complete the budget bill to end the legislative session and Senate and House lawmakers are having a difficult time constructing a final version of the budget. That’s because House negotiators want to keep the human cloning funding ban in place while Senate representatives don’t.
"We don’t know why we’re even doing this in a budget bill," Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dwayne Umbarger, a Republican, told the Associated Press.
He is working the cloning funding ban will be applied to embryonic stem cell research and wants the legislature to study bioethics issues over the summer in a policy committee before reaching a conclusion.
However, Umbarger appeared to be opposed to the funding ban because he favors the use of human cloning for research purposes.
"The real question is, at what point are we going to make that distinction between human cloning and therapeutic cloning?" he said, referring to human cloning for scientific studies. The cloning funding ban applies to both kinds.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Melvin Neufeld, lamented the Senate’s position, telling AP, "The Senate has not been willing to discuss the issue adequately, to explain to me why it should be taken out."
In March, in the Senate’s first look at the funding ban, Sen. Tim Huelskamp, a Republican, proposed making sure none of the $11.7 billion in the state budget would go towards the creation of human embryos. Senators ultimately voted against the proposal on a 25-15 vote.
Huelskamp said the issue was simple: Do lawmakers want to spend money on a practice most Kansans find objectionable.
"I personally find cloning morally offensive,” he said, according to the Topeka newspaper. "Do you want your tax dollars to be used to create human embryos for the purpose of research — to dissect, to cut up, to extract?”
An October 2005 Virginia Commonwealth University poll found 81 percent of Americans either somewhat or strongly opposed to human cloning.
And a May 2005 International Communications Research survey found 75 percent of Americans strongly oppose the use of human cloning for any reason.
When asked whether scientists should "be allowed to use human cloning to create a supply of human embryos to be destroyed in medical research" an overwhelming 77 percent disagreed. Just 15 percent of Americans supported human cloning to advance embryonic stem cell research.
Asked if scientists should "be allowed to use human cloning to try to create children for infertile couples," just 10 percent said yes while 84 percent of Americans said no.