US Congress Votes to Ban All Human Cloning

A bill banning all cloning of human embryos passed the US Congress by a vote of 265-162, ending a day in which divided lawmakers emotionally debated on science, morality and definition of life.

Many members of Congress from both parties support a ban on cloning intended to create a child. But some members of Congress, especially Democrats, support so-called therapeutic cloning, which involves creating embryos for scientific research, not reproduction.

The bill, sponsored by Republican congressman Dave Weldon of Florida, would make it a crime to even attempt human cloning and to ship, receive or import cloned embryos or products derived from them.

The ban defined in Weldon bill would apply to both public and private entities and would carry steep penalties: a prison term of as much as 10 years and fines that could top 1 million US dollars.

A competing bill, sponsored by Republican James Greenwood of Pennsylvania, would ban reproductive cloning but allow therapeutic cloning. The bill was rejected shortly before the Weldon bill passed the Congress.

But analysts said the Weldon bill still faces an uphill fight in the Senate where a number of senators who oppose abortion have said they support stem-cell research.

Scientists believe the stem cells they could extract from the embryos may lead to treatments for diseases such as juvenile diabetes and Parkinson's.

People's Daily Online ---