Michigan Lawmakers Prepare Bills to Monitor Proposal 2, Pro-Life Groups Support
by Steven Ertelt
June 23, 2009
Lansing, MI (LifeNews.com) — When Michigan voters approved Proposal 2 last November, pro-life groups were concerned that it could lead to problems and unethical biotech practices. To respond to those concerns, state legislators introduced the Embryo Research and Fertility Clinic Transparency Act last week.
The Act consists of several bills that would codify Proposal 2 into law and would fulfill the promise of its supporters that no human embryos will be created specifically for destructive research or be bought or sold for monetary value.
The legislation would ban the creation of human-animal hybrids and amend the current ban on creating cloned human embryos to prevent trafficking of cloned humans into Michigan.
The measure would also require researchers and fertility clinics to file an annual report to ensure transparency, as well as require informed consent for parents before donating the human embryos.
Right to Life of Michigan president Barbara Listing told LifeNews.com that, while her group remains opposed to Proposal 2, it supports the Embryo Research and Fertility Clinic Transparency Act.
"While we disagree with a form of research that destroys human life, if such research is to be conducted, strict guidelines and protection against further abuse are necessary," she said. "Supporters of Proposal 2 said that there would be careful oversight of research to prevent any abuses, we intend to make sure their promises are kept in Michigan law."
The Michigan Catholic Conference has also offered its support for the package of bills and says it promotes transparency in human embryo research.
"The voters of Michigan spoke last November in support of Proposal 2, and from the Conference’s perspective nothing in this package of bills affects the will of the people," Vice President for Public Policy Paul Long told LifeNews.com.
"A key component of the package mirrors an acceptable provision in recently proposed federal guidelines pertaining to human embryo research, specifically that which ensures human embryos cannot be created solely for the purpose of destruction," he explained.
"Prohibiting the trafficking of cloned human embryos into Michigan, prohibiting the creation of human-animal chimeric embryos, and requiring researchers to report how many human embryos are retained in storage, further represent commonsense measures that should be widely supported in the legislature and the general public," he said.
The bills will not reverse any portion of Proposal 2 but would add transparency to the process.
Listing says there are no federal or Michigan laws that govern the research and no procedures in place for enforcing violations of Proposal 2.
"For the first time in Michigan history, a population of human beings will be classified as ‘research material’ and destroyed for their parts," Listing added. "Without setting reasonable policies in place, we face a wide-open field with great potential for abuse."
Senate Bills 647-652 were introduced and referred to the Senate Health Policy Committee. Identical legislation is expected to be introduced in the House of Representatives.
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