by Steven Ertelt
February 23, 2007
Des Moines, IA (LifeNews.com) — A bill that would overturn Iowa’s ban on human cloning and allow scientists to use embryonic stem cells form days-old unborn children who are cloned and killed received final legislative approval. Now the measure heads to Gov. Chet Culver, a Democrat who has promised to sign it.
The Iowa House approved the measure Thursday night on a 52-46 vote after the close 26-24 Senate vote for the measure last week.
Culver has said he looks forward to signing the bill.
"I am very pleased the Iowa House has joined the Iowa Senate in lifting our state’s restrictive ban," he said.
But Kim Lehman, the president of Iowa Right to Life, condemned the vote.
"This bill that will soon become law will allow scientists to begin cloning humans for research," she told LifeNews.com. "By doing this, Iowa is turning humans into a commodity for science."
Lehman condemned Representative Brian Quirk, a Democrat who told her group he would vote against the bill. Had he not voted yes and a pro-life representative accidentally voted yes, the bill would have failed.
During the debate on the legislation, Rep. Thomas Sands, a Republican, said he’s worried where the bill will lead and said it wasn’t right to advance scientific research while killing human beings.
"When is wrong right?" he said. "It’s never right. One life is never more important than another. Never. We’re equal."
"In my opinion, life begins when those cells start growing," said Rep. Chuck Soderberg, another Republican added, according to the Des Moines register. "When those cells start growing, that is a living being and that is very wrong to, in five to seven days, dispose of that being."
The bill modifies a 2002 state law that prohibits human cloning for both research and reproductive purposes. The new law allows human cloning for research, also called somatic cell nuclear transfer.
"We need to be clear with the public that we are allowing something that is currently a class C felony in Iowa," said Rep. Jodi Tymeson said.
Other pro-life advocates were gravely disappointed by the bill’s passage.
"In a sad irony, lawmakers passed the bill on the 10th anniversary of the day that scientists announced the birth of Dolly the sheep, the world’s first cloned mammal," the Family Research Council said in a statement after the vote.
"Although the outcome was a setback, we are encouraged by the number of citizens who made their voices heard on behalf of the sanctity of human life. Hopefully, those same principled voters will remember this grave mistake as they elect their next leaders," the pro-life organization added.
The measure would have only passed by a 51-47 margin but pro-life Representative Betty DeBoef, who spoke against the bill, accidentally hit the yes vote button and could not get it changed before the computer system closed the vote.
Related web sites:
Iowa Right to Life Committee – https://www.IRLC.org