Communications Department

Letter from NRLC to U.S. House of Representatives Against Greenwood Clone-and-Kill Bill

Jul 25, 2001 | Killing Embryos

This is a copy of a letter sent to members of the U.S. House of Representatives by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), in anticipation of a possible vote on legislation relating to human cloning on or about July 31.

July 25, 2001

RE: In opposition to the Greenwood clone-and-kill substitute to the
Weldon-Stupak Human Cloning Prohibition Act (H.R. 2505)

Dear Member of Congress:

Within a matter of days, the House will choose between two radically different approaches to the issue of human cloning.

One option is presented by the Weldon-Stupak bill (H.R. 2505), which would ban all human cloning, including the cloning of human embryos for medical purposes. According to recent polls, this is the policy supported by adult Americans by an 8-to-1 margin. The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) urges you to support this measure.

The other option is presented in a substitute amendment to be offered by Congressman Jim Greenwood, based on H.R. 2608, which would grant federal approval to registered bio-tech firms to set up human embryo farms in the United States — facilities in which human embryos would be created in great numbers for the specific purpose of using them as medical commodities. NRLC strongly opposes the Greenwood substitute.

Mr. Greenwood has falsely labeled his measure the “Cloning Prohibition Act of 2001,” but it would more accurately be titled, “The Clone and Kill Act of 2001.” Under the Greenwood bill, it literally would become a federal felony to attempt to save the life of a cloned human embryo by implanting him or her in a woman’s womb.

All pro-life groups oppose such a clone-and-kill policy, but it is noteworthy that various organizations that support legal abortion — including the United Methodist Church and the Council for Responsible Genetics — have also endorsed a complete ban on human cloning, including the cloning of human embryos. Moreover, a national poll of adult Americans conducted in early June by International Communications Research asked, “Should scientists be allowed to use human cloning to create a supply of human embryos to be destroyed in medical research?,” to which 86% replied “no,” while only 10% replied “yes.”

Faced with such overwhelming public opinion, Mr. Greenwood and some of his allies are attempting a brazen exercise in Orwellian newspeak: They are claiming that cloning would not actually produce a “human embryo.” As demonstrated by the quotations in the NRLC factsheet “Scientists Say ‘Therapeutic Cloning’ Creates a Human Embryo,” this is a recently contrived linguistic cloaking device, and it is an insult to the intelligence of members of the House and of the public. As President Clinton’s National Bioethics Advisory Commission acknowledged in its 1997 report Cloning Human Beings, “any effort in humans to transfer a somatic cell nucleus into an enucleated egg involves the creation of an embryo, with the apparent potential to be implanted in utero and developed to term.”

Mr. Greenwood now seeks to deny the obvious: Dolly, the sheep, started out as a sheep embryo, produced by cloning. The monkeys and other mammals who have already been cloned also started out as cloned embryos of their respective species. And when the 46-chromosome genetic package of a human parent is inserted into a hollowed-out human ovum and electrically stimulated, the result will be a living human embryo — a male or female human being who, placed in a womb, can be born.

The urgent need for enactment of the Weldon-Stupak legislation was demonstrated by a report in the July 12 Washington Post that a major biotechnology firm, Advanced Cell Technology of Worcester, Massachusetts, already has a project underway to mass-produce human embryos by cloning, in order to use them in medical experimentation that will kill them. The head of the firm told the Wall Street Journal (July 13) that actual human cloning will begin “soon.” It is believed that other firms are engaged in similar efforts.

NRLC will certainly include the vote on the Greenwood substitute in its annual scorecard of key right-to-life votes of the 107th Congress. A vote for the Greenwood clone-and-kill substitute will be accurately described in our scorecard and other communications as a vote in favor of a radically anti-life bill — a measure that would put the federal Department of Health and Human Services in the business of issuing registration certificates to human embryo farms, and that would make it a federal felony to seek to sustain the life of a cloned human embryo by implanting him or her in a woman’s womb.

NRLC also urges you to vote in favor of the Weldon-Stupak bill — enactment of which is the only way to prevent the nightmare scenarios associated with human cloning which the public foresees and wants Congress to prevent. Thank you for your consideration of NRLC’s perspective on this critical issue.


Douglas Johnson
NRLC Legislative Director,

Categories: Killing Embryos