Two bills are the focus of cloning politics in the US right
now. One is
the Human Cloning Prohibition Action of 2001 (HR 1644) introduced
David Weldon (R-FL). It calls for permanent bans on both the
clonal human embryos and their use to produce a fully formed
The other, the Cloning Prohibition Act of 2001 (HR 2172), was
by Rep. James Greenwood (R-PA). It provides for a 10-year moratorium
producing cloned human beings followed by an automatic "sunset."
requires that anyone intending to produce cloned human embryos
research purposes inform the federal government, and promise
not to use
them to produce fully formed human clones.
The Greenwood bill is remarkable in two regards. First, no
that bans reproductive cloning--there are more than three dozen
sets a date for the ban to expire. In those countries, a ban
is a ban.
Why include a 10-year sunset provision, unless to suggest that
human clones might in fact be acceptable after all?
Second, the Greenwood bill represents an end-run around the
policy issue of whether producing human embryos by cloning should
allowed. Its rationale is that the "registration"
procedure it sets
up would guard against covert attempts to create cloned human
If techniques to produce clonal embryos were refined, achieving
birth of human clones would not present any major technical
Many people believe that human embryo cloning is a threshold
never be crossed, or that it should be allowed only after strict
on reproductive cloning have been put in place globally, and
alternative research avenues have been exhausted.
The Greenwood bill would in effect facilitate the human cloning
Its 10-year moratorium would prevent "premature" cloning
as those announced by the Raelians--attempts likely to result
birth of children with the kind of serious or lethal anomalies
many cloned animals. But it would give a green light to the
of "safe" techniques that would make human clones
The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) has said that
The texts of the Greenwood and Weldon bills are available at
opposes reproductive human cloning. But it would clearly prefer
Greenwood-type moratorium to a ban, and it strongly supports
cloning. BIO's relationship to Greenwood is suggested by its
named him its 1998 "Legislator of the Year."
Search for "human cloning."