NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

States Seize on Cloning Issue

May 28, 2002

After nearly a year of emotional arguments in Congress -- but no new federal laws -- the national debate over the future of cloning has shifted to the states. Political observers say the states have taken up the question as a strategy to get Washington to act.

  • Six states -- Rhode Island, Virginia, Michigan, Louisiana, Iowa and California -- have already banned cloning in one form or another.
  • This year alone, 38 anti-cloning measures were introduced in 22 states.
  • Legislation that would have banned cloning for any reason was defeated this year in Kentucky and Florida and killed in New Hampshire and Oklahoma before it came to a vote.

The resulting patchwork of laws, people on both sides of the issue say, complicates a nationwide picture already clouded by scientific and ethical questions concerning the vast promise cloning holds for treating diseases and the specter of "embryo farms."

The controversy over cloning embryos for their cell tissues pits religious conservatives and abortion opponents, who regard embryos as nascent human life, against patients' groups, scientists and the biotechnology industry.

Source: Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "States Pursue Cloning Laws as Congress Debates," New York Times, May 26, 2002.


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