Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Push for Human Cloning in Michigan Continues

Andy Meisner has reintroduced legislation to legalize human cloning for research and the killing of human embryos for research in Michigan. This legislation, H.B. 4616, no longer merely crosses the term embryo out and deceptively changes the definition of human cloning. Instead it provides an add-on saying killing human embryos is permitted as long as they're being killed for their stem cells and they meet certain criteria. There's also an add-on allowing human cloning which says,
"the utilization of a somatic cell nuclear transplantation procedure which was for the sole purpose of creating nuclear transfer blastocysts for the extraction of embryonic stem cells. As used in this subdivision, "blastocyst" means an embryo that has developed to a stage where it consists of a sphere made up of an outer layer of cells, a fluid-filled cavity, and an inner cell mass."

Notably, this legislation actually admits that a embryo is created via somatic cell nuclear transfer. Meisner's past pro-cloning legislation labeled human embryos created by cloning as "resulting product(s)."

But why is this specific change in wording being enacted? Were opponents of Meisner's original legislation correct when they labeled it deceptive? And if so, then should the Michigan Senate pass legislation introduced this year by Gretchen Whitmer (S.B. 52) which uses the same language as Meisner's former legislation?

Proponents of human cloning for research will also continue to claim they're trying to "strengthen Michigan's cloning ban" with H.B. 4617 which adds 5 years onto the punishment for human cloning (except of course human cloning to create "nuclear transfer blastocysts for the extraction of embryonic stem cells").

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