WASHINGTON, DC (CWN) - Two liberal Democrat Senators proposed a bill on Monday that would ban the production of human cells or tissues through cloning for ten years, except for research into fighting disease and infertility, which could result in the spontaneous abortion of thousands of embryonic, unborn children.

      "This legislation is carefully drafted to prohibit attempts to clone a human being, while not impeding other vital research involving the cloning of cells, tissues, DNA and animals," said Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-California. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, is the bill's co-sponsor. Republican leaders immediately criticized the bill because it allows the creation of embryos for laboratory research, an act banned under their own proposals.

      Current law bans federally funded research on human embryos, but not private work. The Feinstein-Kennedy proposal would allow such research up to the point of transferring cloned cells to a woman's uterus. "A temporary ban is unacceptable. You can't put a statute of limitations on right and wrong. Congress should enact a permanent ban on human cloning to keep this frightening idea the province of the mad scientists of science fiction," said House Majority Leader Dick Armey.

      The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) said it favored the Democratic plan. Benjamin Younger, ASRM executive director, said conservatives in Congress were mixing-up abortion politics and science in their attempt to ban some types of research that use practices that could lead to human cloning. "The very-conservatives in Congress feel that when you have a single embryo cell, you have a person and to do anything with that is abortion. The scientific community does not agree," Younger said.

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February 5, 1998 volume 9, no. 26          DAILY CATHOLIC

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