New Jersey Bill Would Devastate the Human
by Kathryn Jean
[Pro-Life Infonet Note: Kathryn Jean Lopez is the Executive Editor
of National Review Online.]
The U.S. Congress remains practically agnostic on human cloning.
Or so its inaction suggests.
A bill sits in the House of Representatives waiting to face debate.
A Senate bill sponsored by Senator Sam Brownback, too, waits in
the wings. The president issued a challenge to the legislative
branch to get moving during his State of the Union address last
week, and to get moving toward a total prohibition on all human
cloning not some half-baked ban that would, in the end, let the
clone creation march onward anyway; just so long as you kill them
in the end.
Congress may not be acting at the moment, but New Jersey is. On
Monday, the Garden State's assembly's health committee takes up
a particularly bad bill. Worse than the bad federal laws being
proposed, the New Jersey bill does not even prohibit the implantation
of a cloned embryo. The New Jersey bill would allow for the development
of a clone up to and past birth, so long as scientists do not
plan on someone raising the child they've created. It's only okay
to clone, in other words, so long as you plan to kill the clone,
If S1909/A2840 becomes state law, New Jersey would have the disastrous
distinction of being the first state to allow human cloning and
fetal harvesting -- the state would be allowing the manufacture
of human beings to kill and use for their parts. As New Jersey
Right to Life puts it, "This legislation opens a Pandora's box
where human embryo and human fetal farms, human experimentation,
and reproductive human cloning will be allowed to flourish."
All the while, however, the New Jersey bill, supported by "Superman,"
activist Christopher Reeve, claims to actually ban human cloning.
This is possible because the bill defines cloning after birth.
The bill, in fact, reads like New Jersey lawmakers have taken
on Princeton infanticide-defender Peter Singer as a consultant.
The supposed ban reads: "A person who knowingly engages or assists,
directly or indirectly, in the cloning of a human being is guilty
of a crime of the first degree. As used in this act, 'cloning
of a human being' means the replication of a human individual
by cultivating a cell with genetic material through the egg, embryo,
fetal and newborn stages into a new human individual" (emphasis
The New Jersey legislation "constitutes the moral madness of killing
in the cause of healing -- with a possible profit motive that
would encourage the grisly practice," according to a letter sent
to Governor Jim McGreevey by four members of the President's Council
on Bioethics (Princeton's Robert P. George, Stanford's William
Hurlbut, Georgetown's Alfonso Gomez-Lobo, and Gilbert C. Meilaender
of Valparaiso University).
In their letter, the four bioethics-commission members explain:
The pending legislation expressly authorizes the creation of new
human beings by cloning and, perhaps unintentionally, their cultivation
from the zygote stage through the newborn stage for the purpose
of harvesting what the bills themselves refer to as "cadaveric"
fetal tissue. Please pause to consider whose cadaver the tissue
is to be derived from. It is the cadaver of a distinct member
of the species homo sapiens -- a human being -- who would be brought
into being by cloning and, presumably, implanted and permitted
to develop to the desired stage of physical maturation for the
purpose of being killed for the harvesting of his or her tissues.
Gerard V. Bradley, a constitutional law professor at the University
of Notre Dame has warned that the effects of the bill, if passed
would be "breathtaking, unprecedented, and widely regarded as
morally disastrous. These effects include, most notably, a commercial
market in the body parts of fetuses, and the birth of an unlimited
number of 'cloned' babies." Wesley J. Smith, author of Culture
of Death: The Assault of Medical Ethics in America tells NRO:
"It is remarkable -- and very telling -- that in less then two
years, we have gone from 'only' wanting to harvest the stem cells
from embryos left over from IVF procedures, to a state senate
passing legislation that would permit the implantation and gestation
of cloned fetuses to the ninth month, before requiring their destruction.
This is not just a slide down a slippery slope, it is a headfirst
plunge into the abyss."
Someone in the New Jersey assembly ought to consider the consequences
of their disingenuous, devastating dive before they get human
life in too deep, too late for second thoughts. And Congress should
take a message from the Garden State before the Brave New World
renders Capitol Hill irrelevant.
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