WASHINGTON, July 25, 2001 ( – Yesterday, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee approved, on a party-line 18-11 vote, a bill to prohibit the creation of human embryos by cloning. The bill (H.R. 2505) sponsored by Rep. Dave Weldon (D-Fl.) and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mi.) is expected to come up for a vote by the full House as early as next week. Punishment for cloning would include fines and up to 10 years in prison.

The National Right to Life Committee in the US has warned that a separate bill, which would allow creation of new human beings via cloning but only for research purposes, is scheduled for a vote by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Friday. The alternate proposal, banning only reproductive cloning, will be offered as a substitute to HR 2505. Concerned Women for America (CWA) commented that the alternate bill would make “cloning a new human being perfectly legal—as long as you kill it!” since the stem cell research that the human clones would be permitted for would necessarily lead to the death of those clones. CWA noted that if accepted it “would be the first law in the history of the United States that makes killing human beings mandatory.”

The Bush Administration has signaled its approval of the Weldon-Stupak bill. The “committee should be applauded for the action” said HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson in response to yesterday’s vote. “The bill is consistent with the Administration’s view that the use of this cloning technique to create an embryo for reproduction or for research should not be permitted,” he said. Thompson argued that “The ethical issues posed by human cloning and the implications for the child created are particularly troubling.”

See Thompson’s release and the USA Today coverage at: