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Senate Moves Toward Total Ban on Human Cloning

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

September 28, 2005

Contact: Marc Tuttle, Communications Director or Matt Sande, Director of Legislative Affairs
(262) 796-1111, cell: (262) 352-0890

Senate Moves Toward Total Ban on Human Cloning
“Clone to Kill” Amendment Narrowly Defeated

The Wisconsin State Senate made final passage of a comprehensive human cloning ban almost certain last night by defeating a “clone to kill” amendment that would have gutted the measure.

Assembly Bill 499, authored by Representative Steve Kestell (R-Elkhart Lake) and Senator Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan), would ban both “reproductive cloning” – where a cloned person is brought to birth, and “therapeutic cloning” – where a cloned person is killed by extracting his or her stem cells.
An amendment to outlaw “reproductive cloning” but permit “therapeutic cloning,” authored by Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), was narrowly defeated on a 17-16 vote. Referred to as “clone to kill,” a ban on only “reproductive cloning” would mandate that all cloned human embryos be killed since it would prohibit the placement of cloned embryos in wombs.

“There is no difference between so-called ‘reproductive cloning’ and ‘therapeutic cloning,’” said Peggy Hamill, Pro-Life Wisconsin’s state director. “Both involve the reproduction of a fully human life. The immediate product of somatic cell nuclear transfer – the cloning process – is a human person, whether the intent is to bring that person to birth or to destroy that person for research. Either intention is repugnant, since the dignity and individuality of the human person is thoroughly disregarded. Fortunately, a majority of Wisconsin state senators recognize this,” said Hamill.

The Mayo Clinic Proceedings journal published an article in 2003 arguing that medicine should reject all forms of human cloning, both reproductive cloning as well as cloning for research. “Why Medicine Should Reject Human Cloning," was written by leading physicians and bioethicists from The Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University and The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity based in Chicago. The authors, one of whom is former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, M.D., argue that “[U]tilitarian appeals emphasizing the alleged medical promise of research cloning are self-defeating, dangerous, and fail to warrant the cost in nascent human life.”

“The medical community is increasingly speaking out against the danger and immorality of ‘therapeutic’ or ‘research cloning,’” said Matt Sande, Pro-Life Wisconsin’s director of legislative affairs. “Not only does ‘therapeutic cloning’ create human life for the express purpose of destroying it, but it will pave the way for ‘reproductive cloning’ – thus realizing our worst fears. There will simply be no way to stop multitudes of cloned human embryos from being implanted in wombs and brought to birth,” said Sande.

Final Senate passage of Assembly Bill 499 is expected today.