Skip to comments.Here Come the NJ Clones
Posted on 02/03/2003 7:38:16 PM PST by Coleus
Here Come the Jersey Clones A devastating bill inches toward law.
The U.S. Congress remains practically agnostic on human cloning. Or so its inaction suggests. A bill sits in the House of Representatives waiting to face debate. A Senate bill sponsored by Senator Sam Brownback, too, waits in the wings. The president issued a challenge to the legislative branch to get moving during his State of the Union address last week, and to get moving toward a total prohibition on all human cloning not some half-baked ban that would, in the end, let the clone creation march onward anyway; just so long as you kill them in the end.
Congress may not be acting at the moment, but New Jersey is. On Monday, the Garden State's assembly's health committee takes up a particularly bad bill. Worse than the bad federal laws being proposed, the New Jersey bill does not even prohibit the implantation of a "cloned" embryo. The New Jersey bill would allow for the development of a clone up to and past birth, so long as scientists do not plan on someone raising the child they've created. It's only okay to clone, in other words, so long as you plan to kill the clone, ultimately.
If S1909/A2840 becomes state law, New Jersey would have the disastrous distinction of being the first state to allow human cloning and fetal harvesting the state would be allowing the manufacture of human beings to kill and use for their parts. As New Jersey Right to Life puts it, "This legislation opens a Pandora's box where human embryo and human fetal farms, human experimentation, and reproductive human cloning will be allowed to flourish."
All the while, however, the New Jersey bill, supported by "Superman," activist Christopher Reeve, claims to actually ban human cloning. This is possible because the bill defines cloning after birth.
The bill, in fact, reads like New Jersey lawmakers have taken on Princeton infanticide-defender Peter Singer as a consultant. The supposed ban reads: "A person who knowingly engages or assists, directly or indirectly, in the cloning of a human being is guilty of a crime of the first degree. As used in this act, 'cloning of a human being' means the replication of a human individual by cultivating a cell with genetic material through the egg, embryo, fetal and newborn stages into a new human individual" (emphasis added).
The New Jersey legislation "constitutes the moral madness of killing in the cause of healing with a possible profit motive that would encourage the grisly practice," according to a letter sent to Governor Jim McGreevey by four members of the President's Council on Bioethics (Princeton's Robert P. George, Stanford's William Hurlbut, Georgetown's Alfonso Gomez-Lobo, and Gilbert C. Meilaender of Valparaiso University).
In their letter, the four bioethics-commission members explain:
The pending legislation expressly authorizes the creation of new human beings by cloning and, perhaps unintentionally, their cultivation from the zygote stage through the newborn stage for the purpose of harvesting what the bills themselves refer to as "cadaveric" fetal tissue. Please pause to consider whose cadaver the tissue is to be derived from. It is the cadaver of a distinct member of the species homo sapiens a human being who would be brought into being by cloning and, presumably, implanted and permitted to develop to the desired stage of physical maturation for the purpose of being killed for the harvesting of his or her tissues.
Gerard V. Bradley, a constitutional law professor at the University of Notre Dame has warned that the effects of the bill, if passed would be "breathtaking, unprecedented, and widely regarded as morally disastrous. These effects include, most notably, a commercial market in the body parts of fetuses, and the birth of an unlimited number of 'cloned' babies."
Wesley J. Smith, author of Culture of Death: The Assault of Medical Ethics in America tells NRO: "It is remarkable and very telling that in less then two years, we have gone from 'only' wanting to harvest the stem cells from embryos left over from IVF procedures, to a state senate passing legislation that would permit the implantation and gestation of cloned fetuses to the ninth month, before requiring their destruction. This is not just a slide down a slippery slope, it is a headfirst plunge into the abyss."
Someone in the New Jersey assembly ought to consider the consequences of their disingenuous, devastating dive before they get human life in too deep, too late for second thoughts. And Congress should take a message from the Garden State before the Brave New World renders Capitol Hill irrelevant.
NJ CLONE AND KILL LEGISLATION RELEASED FROM ASSEMBLY HEALTH COMMITTEE
ASSEMBLY VOTE COULD OCCUR AS EARLY AS MONDAY, FEB. 10, 2003. IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED!!!
Prepared by Marie Tasy
Director of Public & Legislative Affairs
New Jersey Right to Life www.njrtl.org
On February 3, 2003, The Assembly Health Committee released A2840/S1909 out of committee on a party line vote with six Democrats voting for the bill and two abstaining. The Committee heard 4 hours of testimony from witnesses, an overwhelming majority of whom were opposed to the legislation. The testimony was transcribed and will be available at a later date through the NJ Legislatures webpage.
NJRTL provided copies of a legal opinion addressed to NJRTL from Professor Gerard Bradley, et al. to Committee members as well as a letter written to Governor Jim McGreevey from four members of the Presidents Council on Bioethics outlining some grave problems with the legislation. After the committee was made aware that the bill would allow therapeutic cloning, forced abortions, reproductive cloning, and the commercial trafficking in baby body parts, the committee released the bill over the objections of NJRTL who asked that the bill not be released from committee, but rather held for further discussion. Assemblywoman Loretta Weinberg, FR Links to Loretta Weinberg's Legislation the Chair of the Committee indicated that the sponsor would review the bill, and, possibly add amendments on the floor when the bill comes up for a vote before the full Assembly. The Senate bill was merged with the Assembly bill, which means they are now identical.
The bill can come up for a vote as early as Monday, February 10, 2003.
Continue to contact your two Assembly members and urge them to vote NO on A2840/S1909 and NO on any amendments that may be offered.
See below article which reports on todays hearing:
Assembly panel approves stem cell bill
The Associated Press
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- A bill that would authorize stem cell research continued to raise objections from religious and anti-abortion groups Monday as it moved a step closer to becoming law.
After four hours of testimony, an Assembly committee approved the bill, praising it as a cutting edge tool that will allow research on cells to find cures for diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis.
But groups such as New Jersey Right to Life and New Jersey Catholic Conference argued the bill would permit cloning of humans and the trafficking of human body parts.
"We believe it is more important than ever to stand for the principle that government must not treat any living human being as research material as a mere means for benefit to others," according to a statement from New Jersey's Catholic bishops.
The bill must now go before the full Assembly, and the legislation already has passed the Senate. Gov. James E. McGreevey also said he supports stem cell research and urged lawmakers to pass the bill, saying it provides hope for those suffering from incurable illnesses.
If the bill becomes law, New Jersey would become the second state in the nation to allow stem cell research.
The law would require a doctor treating patients for infertility to provide enough information for them to make an educated choice regarding use of human embryos after infertility treatments. Most stem cell researchers get unwanted embryos donated by fertility clinics.
Stem cells are created in the first days of pregnancy and give rise to the human body. Scientists hope to someday direct stem cells to grow into replacement organs and tissues to treat a wide range of diseases.
To harvest stem cells, researchers must destroy days-old embryos -- a procedure condemned by the Roman Catholic Church, anti-abortion activists and others. Some were outraged that lawmakers advanced the bill.
"If this legislation passes, Raelians will feel perfectly comfortable calling New Jersey home and setting up their laboratories," said Marie Tasy, director of public and legislative affairs for New Jersey Right to Life.
In December, Clonaid, a group started by a religious sect called the Raelians, claimed to have produced the first human clone. But the group, which believes life on Earth was started by extraterrestrials, has failed to produce the child for independent DNA testing.
WASHINGTON - The failure of the last Congress to enact a ban on human cloning casts grave doubt on our ability to govern the unethical uses of biotechnology, even when it threatens things we hold dear. The new Congress must work to break the legislative impasse.
Opposition to cloning to produce children is practically unanimous in America: The vast majority of Americans oppose it. Most research scientists agree that it should be banned. Nearly every member of Congress has condemned it.
Cloning not only carries high risks of bodily harm to the cloned child, but it also threatens the dignity of human procreation, giving one generation unprecedented genetic control over the next. It is the first step toward a eugenic world in which children become objects of manipulation and products of will.
Yet legislation that would have banned cloning failed to pass the Senate last year. Partisans on both sides of the cloning debate sought to entangle it with the larger debate about stem cell and embryo research. Disentangling the two debates is the key to passing responsible legislation that would prohibit this practice in the United States.
We first need to be clear about the facts. All human cloning begins with the same act: the production of a cloned human embryo. Cloning to produce children would involve the implantation of such embryos in a woman's body and their development to birth; cloning for biomedical research, in contrast, involves the dissection of these embryos to obtain stem cells (and, someday perhaps, the harvesting of fetal tissues and organs).
The political controversy is whether both or only the first of these uses of cloning should be prohibited - and whether, as a practical and moral matter, it is possible to stop cloning to produce children while allowing cloning for research.
The debate so far has been inadequate and wrongly focused. Supporters of cloning for research have often tried to confuse the issue by euphemistic distortion - claiming that the production of cloned embryos is not really cloning, that the embryos produced are not really embryos at all. At
the same time, they have falsely characterized a ban on cloning for research as a ban on all embryo and stem cell research.
Opponents of cloning research, meanwhile, have been preoccupied with putting a stop to the destruction of embryos and so have failed to focus on what is unique about all human cloning: the expanded power to manipulate nascent
human life and thus to master the very technique that will make cloning to produce children possible. Were this danger better understood, opposition to the practice would mount.
It is true that cloning research offers hope, however speculative, for understanding and treating disease. Yet we should not deceive ourselves about the value and necessity of such research: there is virtually no precedent in animal work that demonstrates the unique benefits of creating and exploiting cloned embryos; we have only just begun to understand existing embryonic stem cells; and promising results with adult stem cells, if confirmed, may obviate altogether the putative need for cloned stem cells.
It is also true that the ethics of embryo research is relevant to the cloning debate. Cloning research would require the routine production of embryos solely as a source for experimentation. It would require large numbers of human eggs and invite the exploitation of egg donors. And legislation that allowed creating cloned embryos for research while criminalizing their implantation to create cloned children would mandate, by law, the destruction of nascent human life.
The central issue in the cloning debate, however, and the primary reason to support a ban or moratorium on all human cloning, is this: it threatens the dignity of human procreation. Concern about this threat should lead us to oppose all cloning, including cloning for research.
Human cloning must be seen in the context of our growing powers over human reproduction augmented by new knowledge of the human genome. Science already permits us to screen
human embryos in vitro for thousands of human genes. These include not only those that have markers for dread diseases, but also soon genes responsible for other human traits: not just sex, height or skin color but even intelligence, temperament or sexual orientation.
Genetic selection of embryos is today a growing industry. Some experts hail assisted reproduction as the route to genetically sound babies. While directed genetic change of human embryos (even for therapeutic purposes) may be a long way off, it has been accomplished in primates in the
laboratory. It would be naïve to believe that cloning children will be confined to infertile couples and that cloning research will be confined to studies of disease. Viewed in this larger context, the production of cloned embryos for any purpose is a significant leap in transforming procreation into a form of manufacture. The embryo created by cloning would be the first human embryo to have its genetic identity selected in advance, the first embryo whose makeup is not the unpredictable result of uniting sperm and egg. It is precisely this genetic control that makes cloned embryos appealing and useful.
But we should not be deceived: saying yes to cloned embryos, even for research, means saying yes, at least in principle, to an ever-expanding genetic mastery of one generation over the next. Once cloned human embryos exist in laboratories, the eugenic revolution will have begun.
It is these concerns that have caused many countries to prohibit all human cloning, both for reproduction and research. Germany, Italy, France, Norway, Australia and other democracies, many of which support embryo research, have said no to this practice. The European Parliament,
hardly an arm of the religious right, has also called for the prohibition of all human cloning.
Our country should do the same. The United States should prohibit all human cloning, regardless of its aim - or, at the very least, ban it for several years.
Such a policy would allow time to consider the real significance of crossing this crucial moral boundary. It would allow time for other areas of stem cell research, both adult and embryonic, to proceed. It would provide the most effective safeguard against the production of cloned children by stopping cloning before it starts. And it would allow the national debate to continue. If we do nothing now, human cloning will happen here, and we will have acquiesced in its arrival. It is time for
Congress to act.
Leon R. Kass, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, is chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics.
It is important to realize that an embryo IS an individual human being: goals of cloning scientists bear witness to the hidden truth that they are conceiving a unique human being, whether for reproductive or therapeutic aims. Giving tacit acceptance to a proven lie --that the embryo is not an individual human life-- is bad enough, weve done this for more than thirty years, but to embrace cannibalism founded on such a lie is far more degenerate.
Tacit acceptance for manipulating individual human life has lead from in vitro fertilization to partial birth infanticide, proving the bankruptcy of continuing moderate acceptance. We are now staring at cannibalism in the name of whatever you care to call it. Even an embryo no bigger than a grain of sugar is an individual human life. Is it acceptable to kill that individual for their body parts? If you think that it is, at least know that it is cannibalism.
If anyone would like more details, in layman's language, concerning in vitro fertilization, embryonic exploitation, and therapeutic cloning, click on my name and read the essay posted on my profile page.
Is it time to start a 'letters to the editor' campaign regarding these issues, like we conducted prior to the 2000 election? Perhaps it is. Cut and paste at will, fellow Freepers. The material is offered for your use in activist work.
New Jersey and Devils. Perfect together. :)