More MS news articles for July 2001

House Subcommittee Approves Outright Ban on Human Cloning

WASHINGTON (Reuters Health) Jul 19 - A House subcommittee has approved an outright ban on all human cloning, over the objections of several Democrats and many members of the medical research community.

Members of a subpanel of the Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved legislation banning human cloning for purposes of either reproduction or therapeutic research. This bill provides for up to 10 years in prison and at least $1 million in fines for individuals who attempt or participate in efforts to clone a human being.

Democrats argued that a ban on reproductive cloning should leave open the option to perform cloning research that might help lead to cures for spinal cord injuries, Parkinson's disease, or other illnesses.

"There is certainly nothing to say that scientists intent on cloning a human being will be more deterred by the threat of criminal penalties under a total prohibition of cloning than a prohibition that allows continued research," said subcommittee ranking member Robert Scott (D-Va.)

Republicans prevailed with the position that only a total ban on human cloning would totally prevent cloning for reproductive purposes. "This is the only way to ensure the ban's effectiveness," said subcommittee chair Lamar S. Smith (R-Tex.).

The Biotechnology Industry Group (BIO), which claims nearly 1000 member companies, sent committee members a letter opposing the outright ban. While the group opposes human reproductive cloning, "cloning techniques in research are integral to the production of breakthrough medicines, diagnostics, and vaccines," the letter stated.

California Democrat Adam B. Schiff promised to offer amendments allowing for cloning techniques in biomedical research when the cloning ban legislation comes before the full House for a vote.

Copyright © 2001 Reuters Ltd