Bill banning human cloning allows some medical research
Comments on article by Dr. Dianne N. Irving, M.A., Ph.D.

comments Irving
Reproduced with Permission

[[Note: Oddly enough, the just-amended legislative "ban" of all human cloning in Florida Bill SB1726 would NOT have banned ANY human cloning any way. That Bill defined "cloning" only in terms of one human cloning technique -- the somatic cell nuclear transfer cloning technique (SCNT). Because this original Florida Bill scientifically misdefined the SCNT cloning technique, and because it did not stipulate in the Bill any of the several other kinds of human cloning techniques -- e.g., germ line cell nuclear transfer (GLCNT), blastomere separation, blastocyst splitting, pronuclei transfer, etc. -- the Bill would NOT have banned ANY human cloning using ANY human cloning techniques for ANY purposes. Therefore, the news in the following article does not make that much of a difference. -- DNI]]

For local coverage:

Bill banning human cloning allows some medical research

By David Royse
The Associated Press
Posted May 1 2003

Tallahassee -- Legislators made a last-minute change Wednesday to a measure that would have banned all human cloning in Florida to allow the practice for certain medical research.

An amendment allowing therapeutic cloning, but continuing to outlaw cloning aimed at creating a new human being, was approved after an emotional debate and over the objection of those who said all cloning could potentially lead to the creation of life.

"And ye shall be as gods," warned Rep. Don Brown, R-DeFuniak Springs, speaking against allowing any type of cloning. "Man sometimes steps over the boundary and tries to play the part of the maker."

Several members said therapeutic cloning was crucial to medical research that could lead to cures for diseases, and the House voted 62-51 to change the bill to allow that.

The measure's future is unclear. If it gains final House approval, it would still need to be passed by the Senate.

Rep. J.C. Planas, R-Miami, choked up as he rose to speak in favor of the amendment to allow therapeutic cloning.

"Last year my father was diagnosed with Parkinson's," Planas said. "If we can do something to ensure that we can ... cure some of these illnesses, let's do it."

The original measure (HB 285) would have banned all cloning, whether the embryo is intended to be used for medical research -- therapeutic cloning -- or intended to be implanted into a woman's uterus for birth, known as reproductive cloning.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Jim Kallinger, R-Winter Park, said it doesn't matter what the intent is.

"Cloning is cloning," Kallinger said.

The measure was opposed by Florida medical schools, which say cloning could unlock secrets to curing Alzheimer's disease and overcoming paralysis.

Human cloning is not being performed in Florida, but some medical researchers say they're close to being able to use it to research disease cures. A Massachusetts company said last year that it had cloned the first human embryo, although scientists said the cloning was far from the creation of an actual human being. [[Scientifically, a human embryo is always a human being; the immediate product of both sexual human reproduction (fertilization) and a-sexual human reproduction (cloning, using any cloning technique) is a living single-cell human being. -- DNI]]

House members opposed to exempting research cloning from the ban said it was dangerously close to creating life.

But Rep. Ed Homan, a doctor, said it was a promising new type of research.

"When transfusions were first proposed, many thought we were doing Satan's work," said Homan, R-Tampa.

Copyright © 2003, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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