by Steven Ertelt
February 6, 2007
Topeka, KS (LifeNews.com) — A Kansas state House committee held a debate Monday on a bill that would ban all forms of human cloning in the state. The bill received the support of pro-life groups but the biotech industry opposed it because it would also prohibit human cloning for research purposes.
The committee debate and testimony mostly focused on the definitions in the bill.
Those are important to ensure that both research and reproductive human cloning are banned and a debate over the definitions preceded the November ballot fight over a measure to promote human cloning and embryonic stem cell research in Missouri.
State Rep. Brenda Landwehr, a Republican from Wichita and the chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee, is the key sponsor of House Bill 2098.
Kathy Ostrowski, legislative director of Kansans for Life, told the committee that “It is understood that battles can be won merely by redefining language."
"That is why the accurate definitions of scientific terms in the area of human cloning and destructive embryonic research must be put into law," she said, according to the Lawrence Journal World.
David Prentice, of the Family Research Council and a former biology professor at Indiana State University, also testified for the bill. He said the definitions in the legislation are consistent with those used by President Bush’s Council on Bioethics.
According to the newspaper, Duane Simpson, a spokesman for the Biotechnology Industry Organization, a biotech lobbying group that backs human cloning and embryonic stem cell research, spoke out against the measure.
"This legislation puts bad definitions into statute for future use,” he said. “The definitions used come from political activists and political appointees.”
Paul Terranova, vice chancellor for research at Kansas University Medical Center, also testified on the bill and said he was not for or against it but wanted different definitions used because he didn’t like the ones in it.
This is the second attempt by Kansas legislators to prohibit human cloning.
Last March, the Kansas Senate on Wednesday rejected a ban on using taxpayer funds in the state budget to pay for any kind of human cloning.
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 for reproduction or research.
The proposal specifically indicated none of the money could go to having the state "participate in an attempt to perform human cloning."
However, the newspaper reported some senators objected to the idea and rushed to laptop computers to search information on the Internet during the debate. They said they didn’t know enough to support the ban.
The Senate ultimately voted against the proposal on a 25-15 vote.