by Steven Ertelt
June 5, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The House of Representatives will vote on Wednesday on a bill put forward by supporters of embryonic stem cell research that purportedly bans human cloning but doesn’t. The measure would prohibit cloning for reproductive purposes but allow scientists to clone human beings for research.
The vote came up at the last minute on Tuesday as backers of the bill hoped to sneak it on the legislative calendar without tipping off pro-life groups and opening up Congress to an avalanche of phone calls.
National Right to Life legislative director Douglas Johnson told LifeNews.com, ""The House Democratic leadership is trying to sneak through a bill that would effectively authorize the use of cloning to create human embryo farms."
The cloning vote comes just one day before the House is slated to vote on whether to force taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research that involves the destruction of human life. The embryos utilized under that measure, S. 5, would be created by in vitro fertilization, not cloning, but Johnson says they would be killed as well.
Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, is behind the fake human cloning ban, which is deceptively titled the "Human Cloning Prohibition Act." Rep. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, is the leading co-sponsor.
"In reality, what the bill would prohibit is not human cloning, but the survival of human clones," Johnson explained.
While some lawmakers would tout the bill as a ban on reproductive human cloning — because the cloned embryos would not be able to be implanted in the mother’s womb — it would have the opposition of the pro-life movement because it would allow human embryos to be cloned in the first place.
Pro-life groups have considered such provisions "clone and kill" measures because they allow human cloning for research and mandate that those days-old unborn children be killed so they can’t ever be born.
As a result, research-based cloning involves the deliberate creation and destruction of human beings for the advancement of science.
Because the bill will be brought up on the Suspension Calendar, no amendments can be proposed to it and there is a limit of 40 minutes for debate. However, a two-thirds vote is required for passage — something that may not occur because there are likely enough pro-life lawmakers to vote against it.
In supporting her measure, DeGette sent out a letter to members of the House saying the bill would prevent creation of "a cloned human being." That statement is false, Johnson said.
Successful use of the process called "somatic cell nuclear transfer," the same cloning process that created Dolly the sheep and thousands of other mammalian clones, utilizing human genetic material, will produce a human embryo.
"To assert that the DeGette bill ‘bans the cloning of human beings’ would be to embrace the claim that a human embryo is not a human being," Johnson explained. "We believe that such a position is clearly erroneous biologically."
Even if the House and Senate managed to approve the DeGette bill, President Bush has indicated he is strongly against human cloning and has called for a bill to ban both forms of the practice.
"We must not create life to destroy life. Human beings are not research material to be used in a cruel and reckless experiment," he said in a January 2003 statement.
Moreover, on February 26, 2003, the White House issued an official “Statement of Administration Policy,” which said in part, “The Administration unequivocally is opposed to the cloning of human beings either for reproduction or for research.”
As research cloning has come up for debate in the past, pro-life advocates have also cited concerns that it would lead, like abortion, to the exploitation of women, especially poor women. This is because scientists would need a large number of human eggs to use to create the embryos for research and those eggs could only be obtained by women who donate them.
Scientists could devise methods of paying women for their eggs or reimbursing them in some other financial manner — leading poor women to subject themselves to the dangerous and painful egg extraction procedure. The procedures have led to infertility and death for some women.
Some cite the scandal in South Korea as proof and point out how Professor Hwang Woo-suk coerced women into donating their eggs for his fraudulent embryonic stem cell research and human cloning.
Polls have shown that opposition to human cloning is bipartisan.
A poll of over 4000 Americans, conducted in 2004 by the Genetics and Public Policy Institute at Johns Hopkins University found that over 75% of those polled when asked: "Do you think human embryo cloning for research should be allowed at all?" said no. That included 72.5 percent of Democrats saying they oppose it.
Countries around the world such as Canada, France, Germany, and Italy have banned human cloning for both research and reproductive purposes and, in 2005, the United Nations voted 84-34 to call on nations to pass bans on human cloning.
Finally, pro-life groups say the so-called reproductive cloning ban in such a phony bill would be unenforceable because cloned human embryos are virtually indistinguishable from those who have not been cloned.