Feb 28, 2002
By Julie Rovner
WASHINGTON - Groups supporting a ban on all forms of human cloning are taking out radio and television ads in key states to pressure undecided Senators who will have to vote on the measure in the coming weeks.
The National Right to Life Committee is buying radio time in seven Utah cities to urge Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch to support a House-passed bill that would ban both human cloning intended to produce babies as well as cloning to make embryos as a source of stem cells.
Hatch, who last summer broke with anti-abortion and religious groups to urge President Bush to allow funding of research using stem cells from embryos left over from in vitro fertilization attempts, said earlier this month he has not decided how he will vote on the cloning bill.
The Senate is expected to take up the House-passed bill banning any human cloning, but members will also likely be asked to vote on alternatives that would bar cloning intended for reproduction, but allow the cloning of embryos to derive stem cells.
Meanwhile, a separate organization, Stop Human Cloning, headed by conservative commentator William Kristol, is launching television ads aimed at undecided Senators in at least two other states. The 30-second spots are scheduled to run in Georgia and North Dakota, where Georgia Democrats Zell Miller and Max Cleland and North Dakota Democrats Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad have yet to say how they will vote. The organization says the ads could air in other, unnamed states as well.
"With these ads, we're taking the debate to the American people, and we're confident that they will urge their Senators to close this door leading to the horrors of the Brave New World," said Kristol, a former top aide to Vice President Dan Quayle.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle
(D-SD), who last fall promised backers of the anti-cloning bill a vote
in February or March, said in a television interview Sunday he still plans
to bring the bill to the floor "within the next several weeks."
Copyright © 2002 Reuters Limited