Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pro-life legislation update: Senate panel approves cloning ban

The following news release was issued on March 18.

ST. PAUL – Legislation to protect human life advanced this week at the Minnesota Legislature as five hearings were held on measures backed by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), the state's oldest and largest pro-life organization. The Human Cloning Prohibition Act, S.F. 695 and H.F. 998, was approved by the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety committee yesterday on an 8-5 vote and referred to the Higher Education committee.

"Leading researchers and scientists, including Ian Wilmut, the maker of the clone Dolly the Sheep, and many others have turned against human cloning," said MCCL Legislative Associate Andrea Rau. "They have found that cloning of animals does not work very well and other new techniques offer much more promise in providing practical applications."

In 2005, the United Nations adopted the U.N. Declaration of Human Cloning, which called upon member states "to adopt all measures necessary to prohibit all forms of human cloning inasmuch as they are incompatible with human dignity and the protection of life."

The ban on human cloning was also approved this week by both the Senate Health and Human Services and the House Judiciary Policy and Finance committees on March 15 on voice votes. The lead authors are President of the Senate Michelle Fischbach, R-Paynesville, and Rep. Bob Dettmer, R-Forest Lake. The Senate Higher Education committee will hear the legislation on Monday at 3:00 p.m.

The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, S.F. 649 and H.F. 936, was passed by the House Health and Human Services Reform Committee on March 16 on a voice vote. The initiative would prohibit abortions after the point in pregnancy at which an unborn child can feel pain, which medical evidence demonstrates is (conservatively) 20 weeks from conception. Sen. Gretchen Hoffman, R-Vergas, and Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville, are the lead authors. The House Civil Law committee will take up the bill on Monday at 12:30 p.m.

A third measure, to ban taxpayer funding of abortion, S.F. 103 and H.F. 201, was passed by the House Health and Human Services Reform Committee on March 15, 13-4. The lead authors are Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, and Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover. Additional hearings on the bill have yet to be scheduled.