New Stem Cell Research Bill Could Promote Human Cloning, Destroying Embryos

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 12, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Stem Cell Research Bill Could Promote Human Cloning, Destroying Embryos

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 12
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — President Barack Obama issued an executive order this year to force taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research that destroys human life. Now that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has issued the guidelines to implement that decision, a pro-cloning member of Congress wants to open the door further.

Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, will soon introduce the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2009.

DeGette, as the Washington Post did in a supportive weekend editorial, will likely tout the legislation as a was to codify, or make as permanent law, Obama’s decision. That means a future pro-life president would not be able to undo the decision with another executive order.

But, DeGette’s measure will likely go further and "enhance" or promote human cloning and the destruction of human embryos.

DeGette introduced a similar bill earlier this year that would allow NIH to invest in other kinds of research — perhaps including so-called "therapeutic cloning," which is human cloning done for dubious research purposes. Otherwise known as somatic cell nuclear transfer, it is the kind of 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 Congressional Quarterly in April 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 it did not do, despite a claim by the Washington Post that it did.

As he has said in the past, National Right to Life Committee legislative director Douglas Johnson told today that DeGette’s bill will go much further than media reports say — by promoting human cloning.

"We expect that the DeGette bill will contain provisions intended to encourage and protect the practice of human cloning — that is, the creation of cloned embryos of the species Homo sapiens, for the purpose of using these human embryos in research that will kill them," he said.

"DeGette has long been a champion of such a ‘clone and kill’ policy, and she believes that the federal government should fund such activity," he continued.

"Moreover, we expect that DeGette will continue her past practice of deceptively labeling her pro-cloning language as a "ban on human cloning," even though what she actually seeks to ban is the long-term survival of human clones," Johnson told

If DeGette’s bill gets a vote on the House floor, there is some comfort for pro-life advocates.

The House defeated a DeGette clone-and-kill bill, deceptively labeled "The Human Cloning Prohibition Act," in June 2007. However, pro-life advocates lost some members of Congress in the 2008 elections and that could have ramifications for a potential vote.

Leading pro-life groups opposed the NIH guidelines because they gave incentives to engage in embryo destruction by offering federal funds for research on stem cells derived by destroying a human embryo.

Although text for the new DeGette bill is not available, pro-life groups will likely oppose it as well.

They will also likely caution pro-life advocates to read between the lines of mainstream media reports like that of the Washington Post last weekend.

DeGette has been a long-time supporter of human cloning and has repeatedly introduced legislation to allow human cloning for research purposes.

As such, when she and her supporters of research cloning like the Post refer to banning human cloning, they are not referring to banning both human cloning for research and reproductive purposes. Instead, they have been referring to a ban on allowing a cloned embryo to survive.

As Johnson notes, that means researchers would be authorized, possibly at taxpayer expense, to use human cloning to create an unborn child specifically to kill to supposedly advance scientific research.

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