After a prolonged and often-emotional debate, the US House of Representatives Thursday voted overwhelmingly to ban all forms of human cloning — for the purpose of reproduction as well as research involving somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) techniques.

The Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2003 (HR 534), cosponsored by Florida Republican Dave Weldon and Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak, was approved by a vote of 241-155. The measure would sentence violators with up to 10 years in prison and impose fines as high as $1 million per infraction. "We cannot afford to treat the issue of human embryo cloning lightly," Stupak said. "The human race is not open to experimentation at any level, even the molecular level."

The bill had been strongly opposed by the biomedical and research communities but had the support of the White House and many religious, women's-rights, and pro-life groups. "We applaud the lawmakers who heeded President...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?