WASHINGTON (June 6, 2007) -- The U.S. House of Representatives today rejected a bill, deceptively labeled as a ban on human cloning, that actually would have allowed large-scale cloning of human embryos solely for purposes of research.
The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) condemned the measure as "a clone-and-kill bill," and strongly opposed it. After the vote, NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson commented, "The House Democratic leadership tried to ram through a bill to pave the way for cloned human embryo farms, but their scam failed."
The White House issued a statement before the vote that said in part, "The Administration is strongly opposed to any legislation that would . . . permit the creation of cloned embryos or development of human embryo farms for research, which would require the destruction of nascent human life. Thus, if legislation were presented to the President that permitted human embryos to be created, developed, and destroyed simply for research purposes, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill."
The vote on the bill, H.R. 2560, was 204 to 213 -- short of a majority, and 74 votes short of the two-thirds majority that was required for approval under the fast-track procedure that the House Democratic leadership used to try to rush the bill through less than a day after its introduction.
The bill, H.R. 2560, was introduced by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Co.) only Tuesday night, and brought to the House floor early the next day (today) under a procedure (called Suspension of the Rules) usually employed for noncontroversial matters. The language of the bill was not even available on the official congressional website when the measure was debated on the House floor. However, NRLC obtained the bill text late Tuesday, and warned House members in an e-mailed letter: "While H.R. 2560 is titled 'The Human Cloning Prohibition Act' . . . in reality, H.R. 2560 does not ban any human cloning at all. H.R. 2560 would allow -- indeed, it is carefully constructed to encourage -- the creation of any number of cloned human embryos. H.R. 2560 would allow development of these cloned human embryos (individual members, male or female, of the species Homo sapiens) in the laboratory, perhaps even for weeks, so that they can be killed in order to harvest their stem cells or used in other research that will kill them -- a practice opposed by about 75% of the public."
To read the entire June 6 NRLC letter to U.S. House members, click here.
NRLC's Douglas Johnson commented, "Any statement in any news story claiming that the bill would have banned 'cloning a human being' is false. Successful use of the cloning process called 'somatic cell nuclear transfer' (the same cloning process that created Dolly the sheep and thousands of other mammalian clones), utilizing human genetic material, will produce an embryo of the species Homo sapiens, which biologically is a human being. A journalist who asserts that this bill 'bans the cloning of a human being,' when the bill clearly permits the mass creation of human embryos by cloning, has embraced the position that a human embryo is not a human being -- which is, to say the least, taking one side's position on a hotly disputed subject."
NRLC supports the Weldon-Stupak Human Cloning Prohibition Act (H.R. 2564), which would prohibit the creation of human embryos by cloning nationwide. The House passed the bill in 2001 and 2003, but the Senate has never acted on it. The United Nations General Assembly in 2005 urged all member nations to enact such comprehensive bans on human cloning, and at least 23 nations have already done so, including Germany, France, and Canada.
For further information, go to the NRLC website page on human cloning at http://www.nrlc.org/killing_embryos/index.html
The House will vote on June 7 on a separate bill, S. 5, that would mandate federal funding of the type of stem cell research that requires the killing of human embryos. President Bush has already said that he will veto that bill.
Source: This is a news release from the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) in Washington, D.C., issued on Wednesday, June 6, 2007, at 6:45 PM EDT.
LifeNews has more: House Defeats Fake Human Cloning Ban Allowing it For Research