RICHMOND, Va. -- The New Jersey state legislature recently passed a "clone and kill" bill that allows the creation of cloned human embryos that can be implanted into a woman's womb and then destroyed at any point during their development for use in scientific research. As expected, New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey signed the bill, making it be the most extreme law ever passed regarding human cloning and embryonic stem cell research.
Supporters say it is an innocuous and forward-looking law opposed only by extremists. But the new statute will have morally disastrous effects. Most notably, it creates a commercial market for the body parts of unborn children. It authorizes the commercial traffic of cloned children and will inevitably lead to contracts between cloning entrepreneurs and gestating women.
The law does make cloning a crime of the first degree. But cloning is defined in an unprecedented way: "cultivating" the cell "through the egg embryo, fetal and newborn stages into a new human individual." That means the crime of cloning would not occur until a child was possibly weeks or months old. That further means the only way to avoid the crime of cloning would be to kill the child -- even after birth.
Now it might be said that cloned children would not be allowed to develop until the newborn stage. The problem is that no woman contracted to carry a cloned child could be forced to abort the child. So if the woman changes her mind while carrying the child and decides to forego abortion, cloned children will be born.
These are just a few of the problems opponents of therapeutic cloning and embryonic stem cell research feared. Ethical research options are available that can accomplish the same and greater goals. Specifically, research on adult stem cells harvested from umbilical cord blood, bone marrow and cadavers has provided cures for thousands of individuals with varied diseases for more than a decade.
Sadly, the media and star-quality spokesmen like Christopher Reeve are deceived by the heavyweight lobbying of biotech interests and their friends, keeping the truth safely under wraps.