U.S. Legislation at the Federal & State level
Therapeutic Cloning is also called biomedical cloning, and
research cloning. It involves the process of somatic cell nuclear
transfer in which the nucleus of a cell from a human patient's body is
injected into a human ovum which has had its nucleus removed. The goal of
therapeutic cloning is to obtain stem cells which can be developed into organs for transplant that have an
identical DNA structure to the organ recipient. It does not involve the
attempt to create a newborn.
Reproductive Cloning would start with the same nuclear transfer technique.
However, the resultant pre-embryo would be implanted in the uterus of a woman
with the intent of it developing into a fetus and eventually a newborn.
A near consensus exists among Federal representatives and senators in favor
of a ban of reproductive cloning. However, the legislators are divided on the
topic of therapeutic cloning.
After years of debate, the House of Representatives passed bill H.R.
234 on 2003-FEB-27 with a sizeable majority (241 to 155). The Senate has not
passed an anti-cloning bill as of 2004-FEB.
Federal Senate bills concerning therapeutic cloning:
|2001-APR-26: Ban of all cloning: Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) introduced
bill S. 790 to criminalize "all forms of cloning, including research
cloning." The latter term is a synonym of the more commonly used
term "therapeutic cloning."
It notes that if therapeutic cloning were allowed, then there would
be no way to prevent researchers from transferring pre-embryos into a
woman's uterus in order to attempt reproductive cloning. The bill
concludes that all forms of cloning must be criminalized. Fines
would be in excess of one million dollars. It did not proceed.
|2001-DEC-12: Ban of reproductive cloning: Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and others introduced bill
S. 1758 officially titled "A bill to prohibit human cloning while
preserving important areas of medical research, including stem cell
research." It would have banned reproductive
cloning, but allowed therapeutic cloning to continue. It did not proceed.|
|Additional Senate bills during 2001 and 2002-JAN: Other bills
restricting cloning which did not proceed include:|
|S. 704: Ben Campbell (CO) introduced on 2001-APR-5.|
|S. 723: Arlen Specter (PA) introduced on2001-APR-5.|
|S. 1893: Tom Harkin (IA) introduced on 2002-JAN-24.|
|2001-JAN-28: Ban of all cloning: Sen. Sam Brownback
introduced bill S. 1899, titled: "Human Cloning Prohibition Act of
2001." It would have defined cloning as any somatic cell nuclear
transfer, including procedures intended for either reproductive or therapeutic
cloning. Penalties include up to ten years in jail and a fine of not
less than one million dollars.|
|2002-APR-9: Ambiguous bill:
Sen. Byron Dorgan, (D-ND) introduced a bill S. 2076. It states: "It shall be
unlawful for any person to engage in a human cloning procedure for the
purpose of creating a cloned human being." The problem is that there
is no consensus in the country about a definition of "human being." Some people
argue that a just-fertilized ovum is a human person; other argue that a
fetus becomes a human person only at birth. This technique of intentional
vagueness is often seen in democratic legislatures. The introduce bills
that are quite ambiguous so that they will receive a great deal of
support. Then, they let the courts interpret what the bill actually means.
Fortunately, the bill did not proceed. 2|
|2002-MAY-1: Ban of reproductive cloning:
Specter, (R-PA) introduced a bill S. 2439, called the "Human Cloning
Prohibition Act of 2002." It is titled: "A bill to prohibit
human [reproductive] cloning while preserving important areas of medical
research, including stem cell research." It would have simply prohibit the
implantation of cloned human embryos in
a woman's uterus. It would allow the creation of pre-embryos for the
development of human organs via therapeutic cloning. It would prohibit
the production of cloned newborns. If signed into law, it would be
similar to the laws and regulations in the UK and Canada.|
Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life
Committee, said: "This bill would allow biotech labs to create as
many cloned human embryos as they wish. Once they get the technical
issues resolved, we believe they would create them by the hundreds of
thousands, or the millions." That comments makes sense. If, for
example, scientists could find a way of growing a human heart, then one
embryo would have to be cloned and its stem cells removed in order to
save a single
patient's life. So too, for people whose kidneys have
failed, and those who have a major breakdown in any other organ. The
number of cloned embryos, and the number of lives saved, could both conceivably total millions each year.
|2002-JUN-14: Debates on cloning bills delayed: Progress
on the two main cloning bills before the Senate ground to a halt. One bill,
sponsored by Senator Sam Brownback was the Human Cloning Prohibition
Act of 2001 (S. 790). It would criminalize both reproductive and therapeutic cloning.
The other bill, S. 2439 "Human Cloning
Prohibition Act of 2002" would allow therapeutic cloning and ban
reproductive cloning. Both bills were scheduled to be debated on JUN-14,
However Senator Brownback would not agree to the order in which the bills
would have been considered. He wanted his bill to be dealt with second.
4 Neither bill made it into law.|
|2003-JAN-13: Senate bill for complete cloning ban stalled:
Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) had decided to delay the re-introduction of
his bill in the Senate which would ban both reproductive cloning and
therapeutic cloning. He said: "We've pressed
hard quickly in the past, but we haven't gotten the Senate to move. What
we're trying to do this time is see if we can get broader consensus"
before introducing the bill. The Senate currently has 51 Republicans to 49
Democrats, and has procedures in place that make it virtually impossible
to pass legislation without 60 votes in favor.
|Arthur Caplan, director of the University
of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics commented that Brownback is
looking for "a way to get Congress on record saying that an embryo
can't be destroyed." That might be used as a precedent to
declare abortion illegal. If an embryo cannot be killed, then a fetus
|Brownback says that there is no distinction between reproductive and
therapeutic cloning. He believes that if cloning is allowed, then some
researchers will create cloned babies. He
said: "Everything in the United States is person or property. If at
16 cells it is property, when does it become a person? If you're not
sure, the safest position is not to kill it and not to research on it."
|2003-JAN-29: Ban all cloning:
Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) introduced bill S. 245 into the Senate. It
would criminalize "all forms of cloning, including research
cloning." It is identical in wording to bill H.R. 534, which was later
passed by the House on 2003-FEB-27. The maximum sentence
would be ten years in prison. The fine would be at least $1 million dollars. According to Victoria Griffith of the Financial Times, "The
bill would place in jeopardy embryo research that uses cloning to mine
coveted stem cells in the hope of curing a wide range of diseases, from
Alzheimer's to diabetes."
The bill did not
|2003-FEB-5: Ban reproductive cloning:
Senator Orrin Hatch (UT) introduced bill S. 303, titled: "A
bill to prohibit human cloning and protect stem cell research."
It would allow "therapeutic use of cloning but bans reproductive cloning." 6
It would have prohibited:
|A somatic cell
nucleus from being transplanted into a human oocyte (egg) that has
undergone or will undergo fertilization; |
blastocyst from being maintained after more than 14 days from its first
cell division, not counting storage times at temperatures less than zero
degrees centigrade; |
|An oocyte from
being used in nuclear transplantation research unless donated
voluntarily with the donor's informed consent; |
|An oocyte or
unfertilized blastocyst from being acquired, received, or transferred
for valuable consideration in interstate commerce; or
|The conduct in
a laboratory of nuclear transplantation in which human oocytes are
subject to assisted reproductive technology treatments or procedures.
The bill did not
Federal House bills concerning therapeutic cloning:
|2001-MAR-28: Ban of reproductive cloning: Rep.
Brian Kerns (R-IN) introduced a bill H.R. 1260 "To prohibit the
cloning of humans, and for other purposes." It's title was "Ban on
Human Cloning Act." The bill would have prohibited "....any person
from engaging in a human cloning procedure (the transfer of a nucleus of a
human somatic cell into an egg cell from which the nucleus has been removed)
with the intent of implanting the resulting cellular product into a uterus."
The bill established criminal penalties. It did not proceed.|
|2001-APR-3: Ban all funding of cloning research:
Rep. Henry Brown (R-SC) introduced bill H.R. 1372 to ban all Federal
funding of human cloning, both reproductive and therapeutic. It did not
|2001-APR-26: Ban of reproductive cloning: Rep.
Vernon Ehlers introduced bill H.R. 1608, the "Human Cloning Prohibition
Act of 2001." It would have prohibited cloning unless the DNA source
used in the procedure is modified so that the resultant pre-embryo "cannot
develop to completion." The latter phrase appears to be ambiguous.
The bill did not proceed. 7|
|2001-APR-26: Ban of all
cloning: Rep. Dave Weldon (R-FL) introduced a second Human Cloning
Prohibition Act of 2001. House subcommittee hearings were held. The bill
was reclassified as H.R. 2505. 7|
|2001-JUN-14: Ban of reproductive cloning: Rep.
James Greenwood, (R-PA) introduced H.R. 2172 "To amend the Federal
Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to the cloning of humans, and for
other purposes." 7
Its popular title is: the Cloning
Prohibition Act of 2001. would ban cloning
with the intent of initiating a pregnancy. However, it would allow therapeutic cloning
-- the growing of organs to save people's lives by transplant. The bill was later rejected by the House on JUL-31 by a vote of
178 to 249.|
|2001-JUL-16: Ban of all cloning: Representative Dave Weldon (R-FL) introduced
bill H.R. 2505. It would have prohibited human reproductive and
therapeutic cloning. It would have provided "that nothing in this
Act restricts areas of scientific research not specifically
prohibited above, including research in the use of nuclear transfer
or other cloning techniques to produce molecules, DNA, cells other
than human embryos, tissues, organs, plants, or animals other than
The House approved H.R. 2505 on 2001-JUL-31 by a
vote of 265 to 162. By a vote of 249-178, the House rejected an
amendment that would have allowed the limited creation of cloned embryos
dedicated solely to research.
|Rep. J.C. Watts (R-OK) said: "This
House should not be giving the green light to mad scientists to tinker
with the gift of life. Cloning is an insult to humanity. It is science
gone crazy.'' |
|Rep. Jim Greenwood (R-PA), said: "Why would we
condemn the world and future generations not to have this miracle? Some
would say once you put Mr. Greenwood's cheek cell in and it divides, it
becomes a soul.'' |
|President Bush congratulated the House's decision: "Today's
overwhelming and bipartisan House action to prohibit human cloning is a
strong ethical statement, which I commend. We must advance the promise
and cause of science, but must do so in a way that honors and respects
The Bill was referred to the Senate, but did not proceed.
|Additional House bills during 2001: Other bills restricting
cloning which did not proceed include:|
|H.R. 2747; Rep. Diana DeGette (CO) introduced on 2001-AUG-2|
|H.R. 3495; Rep. Ron Paul (TX) introduced on 2001-DEC-13|
|2003-JAN-8: Ban of all cloning: Rep. Dave Weldon,
(R-FL) reintroduced bill H.R. 2505 as H.R. 234, which became H.R. 534, the Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2003.
The bill had 102 cosponsors.|
|Robert Lanza, spokesperson at Advanced Cell Technology said: "It
would be tragic if this bill passes...If Congress overreacts and passes
this bill, it could be a death sentence for many patients. There are over
3,000 Americans who die every day from diseases that could be treated in
the future with these new technologies. The medical and scientific
community is unanimous in banning reproductive cloning but at the same
time the medical and scientific community is also unanimous in its support
of therapeutic cloning.....This research is going to proceed overseas in
other countries regardless of what we do here in the U.S. In all
likelihood these groups are going to operate overseas anyway."
|Senator Brownback wrote in a statement: "There is no need for this
technology to ever be used with humans -- whether for reproductive
purposes or for destructive research purposes." |
The bill called for a sentence of up to ten years and a fine of one
million dollars or more. 7 Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) proposed an amendment
that would have permitted therapeutic cloning. She said: "If there is a
possibility that therapeutic cloning could provide a cure that would save
the lives of millions of patients who suffer ever day with terrible
diseases, then we should do everything we can to encourage this research."
Her amendment, and three others by Democrats, were rejected by the
Committee. A vote was scheduled later in 2003-FEB. Even though
hundreds of millions of people will be potentially affected by this bill -- those who
suffer from diseases such as arthritis, Alzheimer's, diabetes, heart
disease, Parkinson's, etc., -- no
public hearings will be held. 9
|2003-FEB-27: Ban of all cloning: By a vote of 241 to 155,
the U.S. House of Representatives passed bill H.R. 234. Part (b) of
the bill states that it would be "unlawful for any person or entity,
public or private, knowingly to import for any purpose an embryo produced by
human cloning or any product derived from such embryo."
If, as most researchers expect, therapeutic cloning leads to miracle cures
of Alzheimer's, arthritis, diabetes, Parkinson's, etc.
then this bill will also criminalize the importation of any medicines that have
been developed in other countries through the use of therapeutic cloning.
|Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) unsuccessfully attempted to amend this
part of the bill. He said: "Who among us could tell a person suffering
from cancer or Alzheimer's, 'You cannot import the cure that will save
your life'?" Responding to promoters of the bill who warn that
therapeutic cloning research is a slippery slope that would eventually
lead to reproductive cloning, Lofgren said: "There is no slippery
slope. There is no fertilization with sperm, no implantation into a womb.
There is no child." |
|Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-WI) said that the U.S. should set a moral
example for the rest of the world by banning both research and cures that
have resulted from the research.|
|Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) said that anything short of a total ban of
all cloning would lead to reproductive cloning and "would
license the most ghoulish and dangerous enterprise in human history.
Congress must act now. We can no longer wait for another biotech company
to claim they have cloned children."
The bill is
identical to Senate bill S. 245.
|2002-JAN-24: WI: Anti-cloning bills:
The Wisconsin Catholic Conference and Wisconsin Right to
Life sponsored a forum on cloning. They were promoting two bills,
which are sponsored mainly by Republicans. One would make embryonic stem
cell research felony with fines of up to $10,000 and prison time. Both
bills were expected to pass the Republican-controlled Assembly and later
stall in the Democratic-controlled Senate. According to CNSNews: "Both
Republicans and Democrats have criticized the legislation, however,
calling it devastating to Wisconsin's efforts at finding cures for
diseases such as Alzheimer's and diabetes, and to the state's image as a
worldwide leader in biotechnology."
|2002-MAR-23: FL: Anti-cloning bills not
expected to pass: House Bill HB 805 and Senate Bill SB 1164 were not
expected to be voted upon as the legislature concluded its session. They
would have banned all human cloning, both reproductive and therapeutic.
Cloning activity could have resulted in a 10-year jail sentence and a
one million dollar fine. Kenneth Goodman, a University of Miami
professor and co-director of the Florida Bioethics Network said
that a ban "is like telling the Wright brothers they needed to rely
on springs and rubber bands....We need to be sensitive to all sorts of
constituencies. But scientists are looking for guidance, not a door
slammed in their faces." 14|
|2002-JUL-1: IA: Iowa becomes the sixth state to ban human
reproductive cloning: Iowa joined California, Louisiana, Michigan,
Rhode Island and Virginia by implementing a law banning human
reproductive cloning. Pro-life supporters had attempted to ban both
therapeutic and reproductive cloning, but had to compromise on a bill
that only criminalized reproductive cloning in order to get the
legislation passed. 16|
|2003-JAN-29: TX: Texas anti-cloning bill:
Bill SB 156 has been introduced in the Texas Senate. Its next step
will be a review by a committee.|
|2003-FEB-20: KY: Bill to ban reproductive
By a vote of 10 to 7, the House Judiciary Committee of
the Kentucky legislature approved House Bill 265 during the week of FEB-9.
It was sponsored by Representative Larry Clark (D-Ikolona). It would ban
reproductive cloning, but would allowed state universities to engage in
therapeutic cloning. The University of Louisville and the
University of Kentucky backed the bill. On FEB-19, House Bill 153, sponsored by Representative Joe Fischer, (R-Fort Thomas)
was defeated by a vote of 10 to 7. It would have banned both forms of cloning. Dr.
Walter A. Jones III, a policy analyst for The Family Foundation of
Kentucky, testified abpit Bill 265. He said that the therapeutic
cloning process still leads to creation of an embryo that, if implanted
into a womb, could grow into a human being. He said: "'It is still
cloning, no matter what the name is." Wendy Baldwin, vice president
for research at the University of Kentucky, said the technique offers
exciting opportunities for the treatment of debilitating conditions. "In
all my years, I have never seen an area of such promise."
Bill HB 265 was passed by the House on FEB-20. The sponsor of the
bill, Representative Larry Clark, (D-Louisville), "dismissed
comparisons between cultivated egg cells that change into specialized
tissue, such as muscles or nerves, and human life. Egg cells in stem-cell
research are not fertilized by sperm and would not become babies, Clark
said. 'I would ask the opponents of this bill, does this group of cells
grow an arm? A leg? A heart? A brain? Hands? Does it have a soul? Is it
equal -- is it worth my life, or your life?' Clark asked."
"In a two-hour debate that sometimes was
emotional, but often dogmatic and repetitive, legislators hailed embryonic
stem-cell research as a potential medical miracle and compared it to
slavery and genocide. Scientists in the House gallery watched the 59-to-40
vote with University of Kentucky President Lee Todd and University of
Louisville President Jim Ramsey." 12
|2003-MAR-30: KY: Bill to ban reproductive
cloning killed: According to John Cheves of the Herald-Leader: "The
[Kentucky] Senate voted 22-16 for an amendment that nullified the
controversial House Bill 138, a human cloning ban. The Senate then laid
the bill on the clerk's desk indefinitely, a move that stops the bill
for the rest of this legislative session." The bill would have
banned both reproductive and therapeutic cloning.
|Jane Chiles, of the Catholic
Conference of Kentucky said: "The mad scientist approach --
no limits, let me move full steam ahead, no matter what -- is what
the universities want here." |
|Sen. Robert Stivers, (R) said nobody
knows what the potential of stem-cell research will achieve. He
said: "What this bill does without the amendment is close a door.
A hope. An opportunity." 15|
|2007-FEB-22: IA: Legislature eases
restrictions on therapeutic cloning: The Iowa House narrowly
approved a bill to ease restrictions on therapeutic cloning. The Senate
had approved a similar bill during the previous week. Governor Chet
Culver (D) will probably sign the bill into law. 17|
- "Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2001," S. 790. Text is online at:
- "Pros or cons? Senator Dorgan peddles phony cloning ban," Family Research
Center news letter, 2002-MAY-14.
- Stuart Shepard, "Cloning supporters muddy the debate," Family News
in Focus, at:
- David Brody, "Cloning Ban Vote Delayed, Perhaps Permanently,"
Family News in Focus, at:
- Alan Bjerga, "Brownback
holds off on pushing cloning bill," Wichita Eagle, 2003-JAN-13, at:
- Steve Mitchell, "Senator to introduce cloning
ban bill," UPI, 2003-JAN-29, at:
- More information on these bills from the 107th
Congress (2001-2002) can be obtained from:
http://thomas.loc.gov/bss/d107query.html Bills from the 108th Congress
(2003-2004) can be found at:
- "H.R. 2505: Bill summary and status," at:
- David Brody, "Weldon Human Cloning Bill on
Fast-Track," Focus on the Family, at:
- Kristen Philipkowski, "House votes to outlaw all
cloning," wired News, 2003-FEB-28, at:
- Deborah Yetter, "House committee rejects measure
to ban cloning," Courier-Journal, Louisville, KY, 2003-FEB-20. at:
- John Cheves, "Bill prohibits human
[reproductive] cloning," Lexington Herald-Leader, 2003-FEB-21, at:
- Joanne M. Haas, "Wisconsin Conservatives Push
to Protect Embryos, Ban Cloning," CNS News, 2002-JAN-24, at:
- John Pain, "Cloning ban not likely to pass," The Associated
Press, 2002-MAR-23, at:
- John Cheves, "Senate vote goes against cloning
ban. Threat to research ends as bill dies for this session,"
Herald-Leader, 2002-MAR-30, at:
- Lynn Okamoto, "Laws take effect Monday," DesMoines Register,
- "Iowa Legislature Sacrifices Embryos," CitizenLink, Focus on the
Family, 2007-FEB-23, at:
Copyright © 2000 to 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally published: 2000-AUG-17
Last updated 2007-FEB-23
Author: B. A. Robinson