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FIRST-PERSON: Cloning: a call to action

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RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey recently signed into a law a “clone and kill” bill that allows the creation of cloned human embryos that can be implanted into a woman’s womb and then destroyed at any point during their development for use in scientific research.

This new law creates a commercial market for the body parts of unborn children. It authorizes the commercial traffic of cloned children and will inevitably lead to contracts between cloning entrepreneurs and gestating women.

Like many other Americans, I believe that efforts to create human beings by cloning marks a new threshold in moral depravity, opening the floodgates to grisly human experimentation on our unborn children and unspeakable human rights violations. It is not only a decisive step toward turning human reproduction into a manufacturing process, but it transforms the mystery and majesty of life into a marketable commodity.

Opponents of human cloning face two great giants in this battle: first, big biotech companies and their insatiable quest for fame and fortune; second, the false and unsubstantiated promises made to individuals suffering with illness and disease who are in desperate pursuit of hope and a cure.

Terms to know: There are two forms of human cloning: reproductive and therapeutic. Both procedures begin with the same procedure, called somatic cell nuclear transfer. The goal of reproductive cloning is to produce and give birth to a baby. The goal of therapeutic cloning is to create a baby who will be sacrificed for its body parts, specifically embryonic stem cells, which will be used for research and or treatment.

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Action: Sign and send the following petition letter and or call your U.S. senators to express your support for Senate Bill 245 (S 245) The Human Cloning Prohibition Act introduced by Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas. It explicitly bans the creation of embryos through cloning and imposes civil and criminal penalties on anyone who attempts to create a human clone through the process of human somatic cell nuclear transfer.

Federal legislation is necessary to counteract immoral state laws such as the one recently passed in New Jersey, as well as to prevent enactment of cloning bills pending in other states.

Readers of this column have permission to adapt the following petition form for use in their state:
Petition: Prohibit Human Cloning
Insert date
Insert U.S. senators’ names from your state
From: Citizens of Virginia
Re: S. 245
Dear Senators,

We, the undersigned, urge you to support Senate Bill S.245 introduced by Sen. Brownback of Kansas establishing a federal prohibition outlawing all forms of human cloning.

There can be no exclusion for therapeutic cloning as it requires the creation and taking of a human life. Human cloning in any form opens the floodgates to unspeakable human rights violations and grisly human experimentation. Therefore all human cloning is morally wrong and an unacceptable practice in a nation world-renown for its stand on human rights.

Federal legislation is necessary to counteract depraved state laws such as the one recently passed in New Jersey as well as to prevent enactment of cloning bills pending in other states. Additionally, there is no higher duty of the federal government than to protect the sanctity of human life.
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Kelly Hollowell, J.D., Ph.D., is a scientist, patent attorney and adjunct professor of bioethics at the University of Richmond and Regent University law schools. She is the executive director of The Center for Bioethics and Culture in Virginia, on the Web at www.thecbc.org, and founder of SMI, an education-based nonprofit corporation addressing issues in science and biotechnology, on the Web at www.scienceministries.org.