The Blog

Cloning and the First State

With a dishonest bill pending, Delaware looks to join New Jersey as a haven for human cloning.

11:45 AM, Jan 16, 2004 • By WESLEY J. SMITH
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RECENT EXPERIMENTS with cows point to one of the potential purposes of the New Jersey law and Delaware's pending legislation. Biotechnologists created a bovine cloned embryo using SCNT. It was implanted in a cow's uterus, gestated to the fetal stage, aborted, its kidneys procured, and transplanted into the cow whose DNA was used in its creation, without stimulating an immune reaction. This was touted in the media as a successful "therapeutic cloning" experiment. This same experiment could legally be conducted using human clones in New Jersey and if SB-55 passes, in Delaware.

It is important to note that the technology to create a cloned human embryo to the point where it could be implanted and gestated does not yet exist. But there is a reason the biotechnology industry is getting its legal ducks in a row. Advanced Cell Technology is reported in this month's Wired magazine to have successfully created human cloned embryos to the 16-cell stage. If this is true--no sure thing since the financially strapped ACT often trolls for venture capital using the popular media to tout its research instead of publishing peer reviewed journals--the ability to create cloned embryos capable of being implanted for gestation and experimentation may not be long in coming.

Alarmingly, SB-55 passed the Delaware Senate last year without a dissenting vote. It is now before the Assembly Health and Human Development Committee where it will be voted on next week.

In the longer run, to prevent Big Biotech from inducing other states to quietly license cloned embryo and fetal vivisection, the federal Brownback / Landrieu Bill should be passed without further delay.

Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture.