Montana Governor Signs Fake Human Cloning Ban Allowing Cloning for Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 2, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Montana Governor Signs Fake Human Cloning Ban Allowing Cloning for Research

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 2
, 2009

Helena, MT ( — When is a ban on human cloning not really a ban on human cloning? When the bill only bans one of the two types of human cloning that scientists could undertake and allows the other version to legally flourish unchecked by the state legislature or government.

That is what has happened in Montana as Gov. Brian Schweitzer signed the bill into law yesterday.

The bill bans human cloning for reproductive purposes but allows it for research as long as the scientists kill the developing unborn child by a certain date.

Representative Krayton Kerns, the Republican who was the lead sponsor of the bill, admitted that he had to amend it to make opponents who favor some human cloning more interested in supporting it.

“I was glad to get the human cloning ban out, that’s the second time we’ve introduced that bill, and we amended it this time to make it a little more palatable to the opposite side of the aisle," he told KFBB.

Kerns’ original bill in 2007 would have indeed banned all human cloning, including cloning of human embryos for experiments. That bill passed the Montana House but died in the Senate.

Dr. David Prentice, a former Indiana State University biology professor now with the Family Research Council, told it appears the biotech lobby successfully convinced Kerns to weaken his bill to accept some human cloning.

"Unfortunately this year the protests of the ‘cloners’ prevailed and the bill was altered so that it was palatable to their interests," he said.

"Sadly this bill, now passed, only bans ‘reproductive’ cloning (cloning for a live birth), and leaves scientists in Montana free to clone human embryos for experiments and destroy them, including for embryonic stem cells from the clones," Prentice explained.

As a result, the fake human cloning ban is no longer able to meet with approval from pro-life advocates and a bill banning research-based human cloning would be needed for Montana to have a full human cloning ban in place.

"It certainly is a warning that legislators should consult pro-life experts on bioethics bills, to analyze the legislative language so the real intent and effect can be achieved," Prentice told

Prentice says Montana media reports about the bill are incorrect and that it does not "prohibit embryonic stem cell research with cells of cloned origin" as KFBB reported.

"It does not ban cloning of human embryos for experiments, or embryo destruction; it is a ‘clone-and-kill’ bill," he said.

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