Human Cloning - Congressional Record (House): April 26, 2001

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HUMAN CLONING

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Issa). Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Weldon) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. WELDON of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak on the issue of human cloning.

What would it be like if we had five Michael Jordans to suit up an entire team? Or what if there were two of you to accomplish more in a 24-hour day? The prospect of human cloning has been the stuff of science fiction novels for years. However, on February 27, 1997, Ian Wilmut from the Roslin Institute in Scotland cloned Dolly the sheep, a feat which has triggered international debate on the issue of human cloning. Since that time, scientists have cloned mice, cows and pigs. Richard Seed announced he would clone a human being.

President Clinton called for a 5-year moratorium on human cloning and advised the National Bioethics Advisory Commission to review human cloning. They recommended that cloning humans for reproductive purposes is unsafe and unethical. I would certainly agree.

If you speak to Dr. Wilmut, he will tell you that they had something on the order of 230 or more attempts to produce Dolly, with most of those attempts ending in miscarriage, but many, many of them resulting in the birth of sheep with very, very severe birth defects. To even consider doing such a procedure for the purpose of creating a human being is immoral and unethical in the worst possible way. However, cloning technology is available that could allow biotechnology companies and researchers to produce human embryos in the lab.

This issue of cloning human embryos, I must stress, is not an issue of fetal tissue research or an issue of stem cell research. It is an issue of cloning human embryos. This year, Panos Zavos of the University of Kentucky and his Italian colleague, Severino Antinori, have begun the work of creating a global consortium for the purpose of producing a human clone. Dr. Brigitte Boisselier, the Director of Clonaid, which has part of the Raelian extraterrestrial movement attached to it, has stated that they have already been offered substantial sums of money to begin the process of working on developing children through the process of human cloning.

I believe the time now is right and the time is ripe for the Congress of the United States to act, and that is why I have introduced legislation today that would make human reproductive cloning, as well as embryonic cloning, illegal in the United States of America.

Now, I want to stress that some people who favor embryonic cloning like to refer to this as therapeutic cloning. Indeed, this term has already been established in the press. I have had two reporters bring this issue up. Therapy implies that there is some sort of useful purpose for these embryonic clones. I would assert that if you look at the medical literature, there is no defined therapeutic purpose for cloning human embryos today in science. Therefore, this term is a misnomer.

The proper term is destructive cloning, or embryonic cloning, the cloning of a human embryo, the cloning of a human embryo for the purpose of just merely doing research on it and then further to proceed to just simply destroying it, or destructive cloning.

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I think this process displays a profound disrespect for human life, and it needs to be made illegal in the United States of America.

Many countries in Europe have already taken action on this issue and have made human cloning illegal. This is what my bill attempts to do. The bill has been introduced in the Senate as well by the Senator from Kansas, Sam Brownback.

I would encourage all of my colleagues to consider seriously getting much more well informed on this issue and signing on to my legislation. It is timely. It is right. We need to do it.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).