Lawmaker plans bill to ban human cloning

Thursday, December 27th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A state lawmaker intends to introduce a bill next session to ban human cloning.

State Rep. Bill Graves, R-Oklahoma City, said his bill was prompted by news that a Massachusetts firm had cloned the first human embryo.

``The reality of the situation is that these people are trying to play God,'' Graves said.

``When you examine the process closely, it is apparent the creators have taken a page straight out of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein.'

``To make matters worse, once a life is created, it is immediately destroyed to provide biological research material.''

Advanced Cell Technologies of Worcester, Mass., reported last month that it had cloned an embryo in its work to provide hope for people with spinal injuries, heart disease and other ailments.

Congress supported a resolution last year to ban all cloning of humans, including embryos. One measure stalled in the U.S. Senate.

Graves filed a bill last year to ban human cloning in Oklahoma, but it did not receive a hearing in the House Public Health Committee.

State Sen. Jim Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, will sponsor the cloning ban bill in the Senate, Graves said.

Advanced Cell Technology sparked a worldwide debate last month when officials announced they had succeeded in cloning a human embryo for the first time, growing it to six cells before it quit developing.

The company's ultimate goal is to cull, from a cloned embryo, stem cells that could then be grown into custom medical treatments for patients. The company's first embryo was too small to generate stem cells.

Michael West, president of the company, said the company's goal is not to clone humans, but to clone cells that could be medically helpful to mankind.

Human cloning will be discussed during an informal meeting of the state House Committee on the Judiciary, scheduled for Jan. 14 at the state Capitol.