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NRLC Urges “No” Vote on Anticipated DeGette Clone-and-Kill bill

Jun 5, 2007 | Killing Embryos

June 5, 2007
 
RE:  Urging “No” vote on anticipated DeGette clone-and-kill bill
 
Dear Member of Congress:
 
National Right to Life has received several reports indicating that a bill to foster the creation of cloned human embryos, for the purpose of using them in research that will kill them, will be introduced by Congresswoman DeGette as early as today, and perhaps brought to the floor on the Suspension Calendar as early as Wednesday.
 
Such a bill will be falsely labeled as a “ban on human cloning.”  In reality, it will be a bill to legitimize the use of cloning to create human embryo farms.  Under such legislation, it will be perfectly acceptable to create, by cloning, any number of human embryos for use in research that will kill them, but it would be unlawful to attempt to allow such a human clone to live by implanting him or her in a womb. 
 
National Right to Life is strongly opposed to this “clone-and-kill” proposal, and will include any roll call on the DeGette bill in its scorecard of key pro-life votes for the 110th Congress.
 
The House has twice before considered similar legislation to foster the cloning and killing of human embryos, in the form of substitute amendments proposed by former Rep. Greenwood.  On both occasions, the House rejected the “clone-and-kill” bills, and adopted instead the Weldon-Stupak legislation to prohibit the creation of human embryos by cloning.  (The House rejected the Greenwood Substitute, 178-249, on July 31, 2001, roll call no. 302, and again on February 27, 2003, 174-231, roll call no. 37.)
 
By way of contrast, the Weldon-Stupak bill, which has twice been approved by the House and which will be reintroduced today, would prohibit the use of cloning (also known as somatic cell nuclear transfer, the process used to create Dolly the Sheep and thousands of other mammalian clones) to create human embryos.  This approach — a true ban on all human cloning– was urged by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005, and has already been enacted by at least 23 other nations, including France, Germany, and Canada.  (The House approved the Weldon-Stupak bill, 265-162, July 31, 2001, roll call no. 304, and again on February 27, 2003, 241-155, roll call no. 39.)
 
When Mr. Greenwood originally offered his pro-embryo-farming substitute during consideration of the Weldon-Stupak bill in 2001, Dr. Charles Krauthammer wrote a powerful column, “A Nightmare of a Bill,” which is still instructive in understanding the radical implications of the Greenwood-DeGette approach: www.nrlc.org/uploads/killingembryos/Krauthammer%20on%20Greenwood%20Amendment.pdf
 
Moreover, the Justice Department has testified that once countless human embryos are created by cloning, as the DeGette bill would encourage, there would be no practical way to enforce the prohibition on transferring such embryos into wombs. The testimony is here: http://nrlc.org///uploads/killingembryos/Justice_Dept_on_cloning.pdf.
 
We anticipate that some supporters of the bill will assert that it would permit only “research on unfertilized eggs,” and that cloning does not really create a human embryo.   But this is nonsense.  Authorities as diverse as President Clinton’s bioethics panel, the head of the NIH Stem Cell Task Force, and prominent researchers who are attempting to clone human embryos, have all acknowledged that somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) with human genetic material will create human embryos.  Here are links to documentation from various pro-cloning and neutral authorities: http://nrlc.org///uploads/killingembryos/factsheetembryo.pdf
 
The imminent attempt by Rep. DeGette and some other cloning advocates to trick you into voting in favor of mass human cloning serves one useful purpose:  It demonstrates, yet again, that the main forces backing the separate legislation (S. 5) to mandate funding of embryonic stem cell research will not be content with harvesting stem cells only from the so-called “surplus” embryos who were created by in vitro fertilization at the request of infertile couples.  The reappearance of the “clone-and-kill” bill underscores that elements of the biotech industry and certain advocacy groups demand the right to create as many human embryos as they wish, for the sole purpose of using them in research that will kill them.  S. 5, dealing with so-called surplus IVF-created embryos, which is scheduled for a vote Thursday, is merely a political stepping stone to their ultimate goal of human embryo farms.  Thus, lawmakers who oppose the deliberate creation of human embryos solely for use in research should oppose both the DeGette bill and S. 5.

In summary:  A vote against the DeGette bill is a vote against human cloning and a vote against human embryo farms, and that is the vote that will stand the test of time.

Thank you for your consideration of NRLC’s position on this important legislation.

 
Sincerely,
 
Douglas Johnson
Legislative Director
National Right to Life Committee
512-10th Street, NW
Washington, D.C.  20004
202-626-8820
Categories: Killing Embryos