WASHINGTON (BP)–The Senate may not vote on a human cloning ban this year, with Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D.-S.D., placing blame June 13 on anti-cloning forces, according to CNSNews.com.
“Our hope was that we could get an agreement on the stem cell cloning debate,” Daschle told reporters. But after offering June 12 to vote on Brownback’s bill first, followed immediately by a vote on a competing bill, Daschle said Sen. Sam Brownback, R.-Kan., “was unwilling to move his legislation first,” CNSNews.com reported.
“I don’t have any further designs, further plans to bring the bill back,” Daschle stated.
Pro-life groups like the Family Research Council and the National Right to Life Committee were incensed by what they called Daschle’s use of “procedural gimmicks” to obstructing a Senate vote on the matter, CNSNews.com reported.
Brownback’s bill, according to Focus on the Family, is the only legislation that would prevent the cloning of human beings for any purpose — medical research or a live birth.
“It is clear that on the issue of cloning, the objective of the Senate Democrat majority is to obstruct the will of the vast majority of the American people, a bipartisan majority in the House and the president,” Brownback said.
“Sens. Tom Daschle and Harry Reid [D.-Nev.] agreed last November to opening the Senate for debate and a vote for a free-standing bill in February or March of this year,” Brownback said, according to CNSNews.com. By trying to rush a vote in mid-June and without floor debate, he said, that agreement was breached.
“We will seek all possible avenues in our attempt to stop human cloning and get the current leadership to take this issue up fairly,” Brownback promised.
Brownback’s plan, co-sponsored by Democrat Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, would prohibit the cloning of human embryos for any purpose. Daschle supports competing bills offered by Sens. Ted Kennedy, D.-Mass., Orrin Hatch, R.-Utah, Diane Feinstein, D.-Calif., and others that would ban human cloning for reproductive purposes only but allow cloning for scientific research, CNSNews.com reported.
Carrie Gordon Earll, bioethics analysis for Focus on the Family, said Daschle is “not only obstructing the democratic process, but thumbing his nose at the House, the president and the American public. As an elected public servant, he has an obligation to set aside his personal agenda and allow a fair and impartial hearing of the Brownback cloning ban.”
Earll said human embryos “are not a natural resource, like lumber, nor are they farm animals to be bred for profit and sold as commodities. Civilized people do not resort to cannibalizing their young for their spare cellular parts.”
A news release by Focus on the Family noted that a May 2002 Gallup/USA Today/CNN poll found that 90 percent of Americans oppose human cloning designed specifically to result in the birth of a human being while 61 percent oppose cloning human beings for experimentation.
“We urge the Senate leadership to stop playing around with an issue that Americans consider critical to the definition of humanity as we now know it,” Earll said.
Family Research Council President Ken Connor, meanwhile, has urged President Bush to extend his August 2001 executive order prohibiting the use of federal tax dollars for cloning, CNSNews.com reported. The order could be extended to ban all human cloning in federally funded research facilities.