by Steven Ertelt
April 15, 2008
Columbus, OH (LifeNews.com) — Once again, Senator David Goodman has upset pro-life advocates by postponing a vote on a bill that would ban both forms of human cloning. Goodman heads the Senate Judiciary Civil Justice Committee and the panel held a fourth hearing on the bill to allow opponents to testify.
However, during the hearing, Paula Westwood of Right to Life of Cincinnati tells LifeNews.com no one rose to oppose the bill.
"Before today’s testimony began, Senator Goodman said that he had been contacted by opponents who have apologized for coming forward so late, he wants to give them a chance to express their opinion, and there would be no vote today," Westwood explained.
However, "No opponent testimony was presented from anyone in the audience."
Until the human cloning ban SB 174 gets a committee vote, it can’t go to the Senate floor for consideration.
The measure makes it so anyone who engaged in research-based or reproductive human cloning would be guilty of a misdemeanor and subjected to two years in prison and fines potentially totaling $250,000.
During the last hearing, Dr. Douglas Kniss, the director of perinatal research at Ohio State University, was the lone person prepared to testify in opposition to the bill.
Ohio Christian Alliance president Chris Long told LifeNews.com Kniss offered no written testimony to the committee and admitted he was not officially representing Ohio State University.
Though the legislature has held the human cloning ban for over a year, Kniss only now presented objections to the legislators, admitting that he first heard about this legislation late the night before and he had not read the bill itself.
Lawmakers held a vote and decided to postpone consideration of the bill until Tuesday for Kniss and others to gather their objections and submit them to the committee.
However, Kniss didn’t appear on Tuesday to present objections to the measure.
Westwood told LifeNews.com opponents of the bill have proposed amendments that would weaken the measure — and those amendments could be part of the reason for the delay.
"Proposed revisions would turn the bill into a clone-and-kill bill, which would legalize research cloning (misnamed "therapeutic") to create cloned human embryos for experimental research," she said.
The bill will be revisited at a committee meeting in the next few weeks.
Pro-life groups supporting the bill, including Ohio Right to Life and the Ohio Christian Alliance, are urging calls to the committee members to ask them to approve the human cloning ban.
Dr. David Prentice, a Family Research Council fellow and a former biology professor at Indiana State University also supports the legislation.
Dr. Dennis Sullivan, MD, the director of the Center for Bioethics at Cedarville University also made a presentation in favor of the measure at a previous committee hearing.
ACTION: Contact members of the Ohio Senate Judiciary Civil Justice Committee and urge them to support the human cloning ban. Go here for a list of members and contact information.