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6-Regulation: U.S. lawmakers voted on cloning ban bill



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                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  
SOURCE: The Washington Post, USA, by Juliet Eilperin and Rick Weiss
        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A13624-2003Feb27.html
DATE:   Feb 28, 2003

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House Votes To Prohibit All Human Cloning Measure
Faces Uncertainty In Closely Divided Senate

By an overwhelming margin, the House voted yesterday to outlaw all forms
of human cloning.

The legislation, which passed 241 to 155, would prohibit the production
of cloned human embryos for medical research as well as the creation of
cloned babies. It parallels a 2001 vote in which a significant number of
Democrats joined Republicans in voting to make cloning a federal crime.

The measure faces an uncertain future in the Senate, which is closely
divided on the question of whether embryo cloning should be prohibited
along with baby cloning. Senate Democrats blocked the House bill from a
vote in the last Congress. Now Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-
Tenn.), a heart surgeon who has sought middle ground on human embryo
research issues, must decide how hard to push for what President Bush has
identified as a significant priority.

Bush on Wednesday made his feelings clear, releasing a policy statement
that "strongly supports" a total ban. "The administration is strongly
opposed to any legislation that would prohibit human cloning for
reproductive purposes but permit the creation of cloned embryos or
development of human embryo farms for research, which would require the
destruction of nascent human lives," the statement said.

Virtually every lawmaker on the Hill agrees that Congress ought to ban
reproductive cloning, or the creation of cloned babies -- an act that
many consider tantamount to playing God. Clones, which are genetic
replicas of their parents, often harbor genetic anomalies -- at least in
the handful of animal species in which clones have been made. Many
experts suspect that human clones could additionally suffer psychological
harm, in part because they might feel that their lives had already been
lived by someone else.

But members differ over whether a cloning ban should also preclude the
creation of cloned human embryos, which could serve as a source of
embryonic stem cells. Stem cells can morph into all kinds of cells and
tissues, and many researchers believe the cells can be modeled into
replacement parts for people suffering from spinal cord injuries or
degenerative diseases, including Parkinson's and diabetes.

Proponents believe that stem cells derived from cloned human embryos may
have medical advantages over those derived from conventional embryos or
from adults. A measure sponsored by Reps. James C. Greenwood (R-Pa.) and
Peter Deutsch (D-Fla.) that would have allowed embryo cloning but
precluded reproductive cloning failed 231 to 174.

Throughout the afternoon, lawmakers sparred over how best to police the
frontier of biomedical research, with supporters of the total ban
suggesting that Congress needs to send a clear message that cloning
experimentation will not be tolerated.

"This is a moral and ethical decision," said Rep. David Joseph Weldon (R-
Fla.), a practicing physician who was author of the cloning ban along
with Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.). "We're talking about creating human
embryos for the purpose of experimenting on them and destroying them.
There's no evidence today that is justifiable."

Opponents countered that the bill's sponsors were placing ideology before
the practical goal of easing Americans' suffering, and were making a
tragic mistake by blocking a possible avenue of medical innovation.

"This is a turning point in our history," Greenwood said. "This is a
question of whether you go forward with the most promising medicine of
our time."

By imposing a maximum penalty of $1 million in civil fines and as many as
10 years in jail, the House bill is similar to a Senate bill sponsored by
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.). But it goes further than the Senate version
by prohibiting the importation of medical therapies created from cloned
human embryos. Brownback's bill simply bans the import of cloned embryos.

 
                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  House Committee Again Backs GOP's Cloning Ban Bill
SOURCE: Reuters, by Todd Zwillich
        http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=healthNews&
        storyID=2218622
DATE:   Feb 12, 2003

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House Committee Again Backs GOP's Cloning Ban Bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters Health) - A divided House Judiciary Committee
approved a bill banning human cloning Wednesday, clearing the way for the
US House of Representatives to once again vote on the issue.

The measure, passed out of the committee with a party-line vote, is
identical to one passed by House lawmakers last year. Republicans
Wednesday unanimously supported the bill's universal ban on cloning,
while Democrats opposed it in favor of exceptions that would allow
cloning to be used in biomedical research.

The bill bans a process known as somatic cell nuclear transplantation,
where DNA from a donor cell is transferred into an egg cell. When
chemically activated, the egg can then divide to produce an embryo that
is an exact genetic copy of the original DNA donor.

Despite claims to the contrary, scientists believe this has not yet been
done with human embryos.

Supporters of the ban worry that such if such embryos were created, they
could be implanted in a woman's uterus and allowed to grow into a cloned
child. Many also said that they oppose research that produces human
embryos for the purpose of destroying them during research.

Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) urged the committee to support the ban to preserve
respect for "nascent human life."

The ban imposes 10 years in prison and $1,000,000 or more in fines for
anyone who participates in the production of a cloned human embryo or
imports clones or medical treatments derived from human cloning technology.

Some scientists and disease research advocates have seized upon cloned
embryos as a potential source of human stem cells that could be used to
develop treatments for degenerative diseases such as diabetes,
Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis.

Judiciary committee Democrats offered several amendments banning cloning
intended to produce cloned babies but carving out an exception for
disease research using cloned embryos.

"I think it's important that we do not become the scientific backwater of
the world because we've established a theocracy here," said Rep. Zoe
Lofgren (D-CA).

Republicans rejected the exception, saying that it would be impossible to
enforce a cloning ban unless all human clones were outlawed.

"In order to prevent cloned children we need to completely prevent cloned
embryos," said Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC).

Democrats also tried unsuccessfully to repeal a part of bill barring the
importation from overseas medical treatments developed using cloning
techniques, saying it would unfairly keep some US citizens from using
potentially life-saving treatments.

"Only those wealthy enough to travel there and pay for the product can be
saved," said Rep. Robert C. Scott (D-CA)

Rep. David Weldon (R-FL), the bill's main sponsor, said when he
introduced the legislation in January that he would remove the provision
banning the importation of cloning-derived treatments in order to garner
more support in the US Senate.

The provision was returned to the bill "because Sensenbrenner told me he
wanted it back in," Weldon said in an interview.

Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican, said that the full House could
vote on the cloning ban as early as the end of February.

The Senate is also considering two bills, one banning all cloning and one
permitting its use in medical research. Neither approach garnered enough
votes to overcome a 60-vote threshold in the Senate last year.


                                  PART III
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Lawmakers Resume Efforts to Ban Human Cloning
SOURCE: Reuters, by Julie Rovner
        http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&
        storyID=2135931
DATE:   Jan 29, 2003

------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------

Lawmakers Resume Efforts to Ban Human Cloning


WASHINGTON (Reuters Health) - The battle over whether to ban human
cloning--and exactly what that means--picked up Wednesday just where it
left off last year in the US Senate.

Backers of a ban on all forms of human cloning re-introduced legislation
that passed the House last year but stalled in the Senate, while
opponents urged passage of legislation to ban cloning intended to produce
a baby, but to continue to allow cloning of embryos to derive stem cells
for research.

Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., who introduced a new version of last year's
cloning ban and chaired a Commerce Committee hearing on the subject, said
in the end the issue is one of semantics.

"All cloning is reproductive. By that I mean all human cloning produces
another human life," he said. "So-called therapeutic cloning is the
process by which an embryo is specially created for the directly intended
purpose of subsequently killing it for its parts or for research
purposes," he said.

But Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Arlen Specter, R-Pa., urged passage of
legislation that would ban only cloning intended to produce a live baby.

"I do not consider the laboratory-created product of nuclear
transplantation," the phrase some scientists use to describe the act of
cloning a human embryo, "to be a person," said Hatch. "A critical feature
of being pro-life is helping the living. Helping millions of American
families struggling with the challenges of debilitating diseases is
exactly what stem cell research with spare embryos from fertility
treatment and from nuclear transplantation promises," he said.

But while lawmakers spar over how far a cloning ban should go, the fact
that they have not yet banned reproductive cloning is a mistake that
needs to be rectified, testified ethicist Leon Kass, chairman of the
President's Council on Bioethics.

"Opposition to human cloning to produce children is practically unanimous
in America; the vast majority of our fellow citizens, including most
scientists, would like to see it banned," he said. "Yet despite this
near-unanimity, and despite the fact that bans on all human cloning are
being enacted in many nations around the world, we have so far failed to
give national public force to the people's strong ethical verdict. The
failure of the last Congress to enact a ban on human cloning casts grave
doubt on our ability to govern the unethical uses of biotechnology, even
when it threatens things we hold dear," he said.