Louisiana Pro-Life Advocates Press for Human Cloning Funding Ban
by Steven Ertelt
May 20, 2008
Baton Rouge, LA (LifeNews.com) — A Louisiana Senate committee will hold a hearing Wednesday on a bill that would ban state funding of all forms of human cloning. To emphasize the grassroots support the measure has, Louisiana Right to Life officials turned in nearly 14,000 signatures from pro-life advocates.
Members of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee will answer the question tomorrow about whether they will help the state ban funding for both reproductive and research-based human cloning.
To help them decide Right to Life produced petitions signed by 13,781 citizens who have answered that they want cloning banned there.
"This clearly shows that it is not just a few legislators and lobbyists in Baton Rouge who want cures backed and cloning banned," Benjamin Clapper, the director of the Louisiana Right to Life Federation, told LifeNews.com. "It is the pro-life people of Louisiana."
Clapper said 1062 signatures from Senator Cassidy’s district in Baton Rouge were delivered to him yesterday, providing a clear message from the residents of the sixteenth legislative district.
In April, the Louisiana House approved the bill, HB 370 sponsored by Republican Rep. Cameron Henry, which ensures Louisiana will not use either state or federal dollars to fund human cloning.
The House signed off on the bill with a 90-9 vote and now the measure goes to the Senate for a debate and vote.
There was no debate in the chamber as legislators were nearly unanimous in supporting the legislation. Another six House members were not present for the vote.
However, lawmakers who are concerned the bill would also limit stem cell research funding asked Henry for an amendment that would allow the state to fund the use of embryonic stem cells created before August 2001.
The amendment puts the state in line with President Bush’s limits on forcing taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research that involves the destruction of human life.
Henry told lawmakers the measure has the support of pro-life Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has promised to sign the human cloning funding ban if it reaches his desk.
Dorinda Bordlee, an attorney with the Bioethics Defense Fund, told LifeNews.com she also supports the bill.
"With the backing of Governor Jindal, the bill by Rep. Cameron Henry tracks the language of a 2005 Arizona law that prohibits taxpayer funding of cloning human embryos for any purpose," she said.
"Arizona’s biotech community is thriving, showing that science and ethics can both be respected in public policy," she said.