Senators Feinstein, Hatch, Kennedy, Specter, and Harkin Introduce Bill to Ban Human Reproductive Cloning
July 28, 2005
Washington, DC - U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Arlen Specter (R-PA), and Tom Harkin (D-IA) have introduced legislation that makes it a federal crime to clone or attempt to clone a human being.
"Let's be very clear: human reproductive cloning is wrong," Senator Feinstein said. "It is immoral and unethical. It must not be allowed under any circumstances."
"This bill is simple, straightforward, and powerful - it bans the cloning of a human being for all time. It bans the attempt to clone a human being for all time. It establishes strict penalties: Ten years in prison for anyone convicted and a fine of $1 million or three times any profits made. The time has come for Congress to act. The time has come to ban human reproductive cloning."
Earlier this week, Robert Klein and Edward Penhoet, the Chairman and Vice Chairman of Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee (ICOC) of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (established to implement Proposition 71 in California), wrote to Majority Leader Bill Frist indicating that they "believe it is essential that a ban on cloning for reproductive purposes that does not hinder vital medical research be enacted at the federal level "
They also indicated that they are "strongly opposed" to S. 658, legislation sponsored by Sam Brownback (R-KS) that prohibits funding on research that involves disease-specific stem cell lines. Because the bill would pre-empt any State legislation, it would have a significant impact Proposition 71 funded research in California . A copy of their letter is available upon request.
The Feinstein-Hatch anti-cloning bill would:
* Make it a federal crime to clone or attempt to clone a human being.
* Prohibit shipment of the product of nuclear transplantation in interstate or foreign commerce for the purpose of human cloning in the U.S. or elsewhere
* Prohibit the export of an unfertilized blastocyst to any foreign country that does not ban human cloning. This prohibition is designed to avoid the risk that valuable research in the United States will result in a human clone anywhere in the world.
* Cloning a human being or attempting to clone a human being is a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
* Establishes fines of $1 million or three times any profits made (whichever is greater) on any person who clones or attempts to clone a human being. This financial penalty is in addition to the 10-year prison term.
* Any property, real or personal, derived from or used to commit a violation or attempted violation of the human cloning ban shall be subject to forfeiture.
The legislation is also sponsored by Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Susan Collins (R-ME), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), John Kerry (D-MA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ken Salazar (D-CO), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), James Jeffords (I-VT), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Ted Stevens (R-AK).
Over forty Nobel Laureates, two National Academies of Science expert committees, over 140 patient and research organizations and a majority of Americans support or have called on Congress to enact a ban on human reproductive cloning, one that ensures that anyone who might attempt to clone a human being is severely punished and one that does not cripple important medical research.