CALIFORNIA, May 3, 2002 ( – The California Senate decided yesterday “to make permanent California's 5-year-old prohibition on the cloning of human beings and research into “reproductive cloning of people,” reports the Los Angeles Times today. The expiry date for the original policy was January 1, 2003. Senate Bill 1230, sponsored by Sen. Dede Alpert (D-San Diego), however, did not outlaw cloning for research for the development of medications to fight cancer, Parkinson's disease and other severe illnesses. Pro-life Republican Sen. Ray Haynes said the legislation “is not a cloning ban at all.” The 22-5 vote fell down party lines with only one Republican Senator breaking ranks to support the bill.

In another vote yesterday, the California Senate also gave a two-thirds majority to bill SB 1272, which specifically permits medical research using human embryonic stem cells. Both bills now go to the state Assembly.