U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on the Judiciary
F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., Chairman
For immediate release
Contact: Jeff Lungren/Terry Shawn
February 27, 2003
Sensenbrenner Statement During House Debate on Human Cloning Prohibition Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. - House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.) delivered the following remarks during today’s House floor debate on legislation (H.R. 534) that would prohibit all forms of human cloning:
“Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 534, the Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2003. This bill criminalizes the act of cloning humans, importing cloned humans, and importing products derived from cloned humans. It is what is needed and what President Bush has asked for, a comprehensive ban against cloning people. It has bipartisan cosponsorship and was reported favorably by the Committee on the Judiciary on February 12.
“Today we are considering more than the moral and ethical issues raised by human cloning. This vote is about providing moral leadership for a watching world. We have the largest and most powerful research community on the face of the Earth, and we devote more money to research and development than any other Nation in the world. Although many other nations have already taken steps to ban human cloning, the world is waiting for the United States to set the moral tone against this experimentation.
“Currently in the United States there are no clear rules or regulations over privately-funded human cloning. Although the FDA has announced that it has the authority to regulate human cloning through the Public Health Service Act and the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, this authority is unclear and has not been tested. The fact of the matter is that the FDA cannot stop human cloning; it can only begin to regulate it. This will be a day late and a dollar short for a clone that is used for research, harvesting organs, or born grotesquely deformed.
“In November, 2001, researchers at Advanced Cell Technology in Worcester, Massachusetts announced that they had cloned the first human embryo. Others have indicated they are prepared to utilize existing technology to clone a human baby. On December 26, 2002, Clonaid announced the birth of the first cloned human baby. Although the Clonaid announcement appears to have been a hoax, there are a growing number of individuals who claim they can, and will, clone a human being. In light of these announcements, it has become imperative that the Congress act immediately to prevent the cloning of human embryos from continuing.
“Others argue that cloned humans are the key that will unlock the door to medical achievements in the 21st century. Nothing could be further from the truth. These miraculous achievements may be found through stem cell research, but not cloning.
“Let me be perfectly clear: H.R. 534 does not in any way impede or prohibit stem cell research that does not require cloned human embryos. This debate is whether or not it should be legal in the United States to clone human beings.
“While H.R. 534 does not prohibit the use of cloning techniques to produce molecules, tissues, organs, plants, DNA cells other than human embryos, and animals other than humans, it does prohibit the creation of cloned embryos. This is absolutely necessary to prevent human cloning, because, as we all know, embryos become people. If scientists were permitted to clone embryos, they would eventually be stockpiled and mass-marketed. In addition, it would be impossible to enforce a ban on human reproductive cloning. Therefore, any legislative attempt to ban human cloning must include embryos.
“Should human cloning ever prove successful, its potential applications and expected demands would undoubtedly and ultimately lead to a worldwide mass market for human clones. Human clones would be used for medical experimentation, leading to human exploitation under the good name of medicine. Parents would want the best genes for their children, creating a market for human designer genes.
“Again, governments will have to weigh in to decide questions such as what rights do human clones hold, who is responsible for human clones, who will ensure their health, and what interaction will clones have with their genealogical parent.
“As most people know, Dolly the sheep was cloned in 1996. Since that time, scientists from around the globe have experimentally cloned a number of monkeys, mice, cows, goats, lambs, bulls and pigs. It took 277 attempts to clone Dolly, and these later experiments also produced a very low rate of success, a dismal 3 percent. Now, some of the same scientists would like to add people to their experimental list. As it turns out, Dolly the sheep was also a failure. It just took six years to realize it. On February 14th, Dolly the sheep was euthanized as a result of complications linked to what some geneticists are speculating were signs of premature aging.
“Human cloning is ethically and morally offensive. It diminishes the careful balance of humanity that Mother Nature has installed in each of us. I believe we need to send a clear and distinct message to the watching world that America will not permit human cloning and that it does support scientific research. This bill sends this message, by permitting cloning research on human DNA molecules, cells, tissues, organs or animals, but preventing the creation of cloned human embryos.
“Mr. Speaker, I urge all Members to unequivocally say ‘NO’ to human cloning by supporting H.R. 534. Stop human cloning and preserve the integrity of mankind and allow legitimate scientific research to continue.”