Congressional Bill Could Allow Taxpayer Funding of Human Cloning for Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 28, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Congressional Bill Could Allow Taxpayer Funding of Human Cloning for Research

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 28
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Now that President Barack Obama has overturned the protections President Bush put in place to stop taxpayer funding of new embryonic stem cell research, members of Congress are prepared to go further. They are working on a bill that could allow taxpayer funding of human cloning for research. has already profiled a leading pro-life group’s contention that the new guidelines the NIH put in place to implement Obama’s decision amount to a human cloning bait and switch.

Congressional lawmakers have admitted once that National Right to Life’s concerns are valid and they appear to be admitting it a second time.

A Monday news report in Congressional Quarterly indicates the bill that Rep. Diana DeGette and her allies are preparing could "contain language allowing the National Institutes of Health to invest in other kinds of research … perhaps including what is known as ‘therapeutic cloning.’"

Otherwise known as somatic cell nuclear transfer, that is human cloning in which scientists purposefully create days-old human embryos — unique human beings — for the sole purpose of killing them for research.

DeGette told CQ that her legislation could open the door to allowing the Obama administration to force taxpayers to finance human cloning if the National Institutes of Health doesn’t move ahead on its own, which doesn’t appear to be the case.

“I hope the NIH will allow SCNT to move forward with federal funding,” DeGette said. “But if they don’t do that right now, what our bill will do is allow them to change that in the future if research shows it is a necessity and can be done ethically.”

National Right to Life Committee legislative director Douglas Johnson, who has been leading the battle to warn the pro-life movement about the coming bill, responded to the latest from DeGette.

He told that DeGette’s comments "confirms NRLC’s warning of one month ago — the House Democratic leadership intends to bring up a bill that will open the door to federal funding of human cloning and human embryo farms."

"When Congresswoman DeGette says that her bill ‘will contain language outlawing reproductive cloning,’ she means, of course, language that would encourage human cloning but also make it unlawful to allow a human clone to develop past a certain point– a ‘clone-and-kill’ bill," he explains. "Under the DeGette proposal, a specific group of members of the species Homo sapiens would be specifically marked for death by federal law."

Now, other human cloning critics are sensing the problems that lie ahead.

Wesley J. Smith, a top bioethicist and attorney says he has warned for years that scientists want more money than just financing for destroying human embryos supposedly leftover from fertility clinics for embryonic stem cell research.

"’The scientists’ used to tell us that all they want is leftover embryos for ESCR. That was never all they wanted, but the lie was a useful political tool to try and destroy the Bush federal funding policy," he says. "Once President Obama put that policy in the grave, I predicted the push would soon begin to fund human cloning research."

"And now, it is about to be brought forth as federal legislation," Smith warns.

He calls the coming DeGette legislation "more proof that embryonic stem cell research is not–and never has been–about getting some use out of leftover IVF embryos that are due to be destroyed anyway."

"Once the principle is accepted that living human beings can be objectified as a product, there is no way that enterprise will be limited to the earliest humans. Indeed, as I have often described, fetal farming is on the table and the already born weak and vulnerable are being looked upon by some as sources of organs and subjects for medical experimentation," he explains.

"Once we state that human life does not have intrinsic moral value simply and merely because it is human, there isn’t much that we can’t justify," Smith concludes.

Though her bill may allow for human cloning funding, DeGette will present it as a human cloning ban because it will likely contain language outlawing reproductive cloning.

While that would prohibit one of the two forms of human cloning pro-life advocates oppose, it will leave the door wide open for therapeutic or research-based cloning and public funding for it.

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