Advocates of cloning and embryonic stem cell research often try to intimidate pro-lifers by tossing around scientific terms mixed with pseudo-scientific terms.
Bioethics expert, attorney and author Wesley J. Smith provides terms and definitions you should be familiar with so that does not happen.
Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT)
This is the scientific term for “cloning.” A somatic cell (skin cell or any body cell) is injected into an egg and fused with a zap of electricity, which makes the egg act as if it has been fertilized. The result is a new embryo.
With SCNT, the genetically modified egg now has 46 chromosomes, the full human compliment. The ability of the mature egg to transform and begin embryonic development remains fully potent.
SCNT was the technique used to create Dolly the sheep.
The cloned embryo is implanted in a woman’s womb.
The cloned embryo is used for research.
It is important to understand these are not different types of cloning.
They are different uses for the cloned human lives created via cloning.
This is a non-scientific term created for political purposes. Cloning advocates try to say that a human embryo is not “life” until it is implanted in a woman’s womb. This opens the door to all forms of therapeutic cloning experiments on human embryos.
Some scientists and politicians use the “implantation argument” to say that SCNT does not create life. That is wrong. To say a cloned embryo is not life is junk science.
Cloning advocates will try to downplay the humanity of the embryo by referring to it as microscopic or a cluster of cells. Do not be misled. An embryo is a human being.
Farming Humans in Iowa
Human cloning is legal in Iowa.
Iowa’s Human Cloning Ban (Iowa Code 707B) was overturned by the Iowa Congress and signed into law by Governor Chet Culver on February 28, 2007. The legislation permitted scientists to create human embryos by cloning and do whatever they wanted with the cloned humans. Scientists can grow human embryos to any stage of development for any reason—including the harvesting body parts.
Iowa will now have a reputation for the farming of humans.
Advocates of this “Clone and Kill Legislation,” misled the public by arguing that the legislation prohibited cloning, because it prohibited “implantation” of a cloned embryo. Again, junk science. Implantation is not “cloning.” At the end of the SCNT process, you have a new human being. The law, in effect, opened up the floodgates to all types of cloning.
Both the media and politicians in Iowa who backed the Clone and Kill Bill provided false information, claiming that Iowa had a so-called stem cell research ban and if reversed would permit scientist to use embryos to heal people. This was another lie. Before the legislation, all forms of stem cell research – both adult and embryonic – were legal in Iowa. There was nothing in state law that prevented scientists from using embryos for research.
The Des Moines Register avoided using the title of the law, “Human Cloning” and stated that Governor Culver “wanted to lift the ban on a type of embryonic stem cell research…a method of creating human embryos….” This was a deliberate action by the paper to mislead the public of what ban the Governor intended to repeal.
The question remains, “Why did politicians and the press avoid the words “human cloning?” The easy answer is that they were fully aware that there was NO public support for human cloning, nor would the public support a repeal of the ban.
Adult Stem Cell Research vs. Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Iowa Right to Life Committee agrees that adult stem cell research is a wonderful blessing. But embryonic stem cell research is not. We fully support research using adult stem cells, which is already benefiting 73 diseases. Our opposition to embryonic stem cell research is both moral and practical. From the moral aspect, it will turn humans into a commodity that will create cloning farms to kill the embryos for research. From a practical standpoint, embryonic stem cell research is unsuccessful, curing no one–not even a mouse.
The repeal of the ban on human cloning will create a new demand in Iowa for human egg donors. The bill does not prevent corporations from buying young women’s eggs, which scientists will need in order to begin cloning humans. College students in need of money will be the most likely targets. The process to retrieve women’s eggs is a painful and dangerous process from which many women have died and thousands have suffered complications.
Iowa’s Former Ban on Human Cloning
Proponents of the Clone and Kill legislation spread false claims that Iowa had a stem cell research ban. The title of the bill, SF 162, itself was deceptive: “Iowa Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative.”
Misleading statements like these led many legislators to wonder who to trust, but the truth was in the language of the Iowa Code itself:
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the “Human Cloning Prohibition Act.”
2002 Acts, ch 1127, §1
It is the purpose of this chapter to prohibit human cloning for any purpose, whether for reproductive cloning or therapeutic cloning.
2002 Acts, ch 1127, §2
As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
1. “Fetus” means a living organism of the species homo sapiens from eight weeks’ development until complete expulsion or extraction from a woman’s body, or until removal from an artificial womb or other similar environment designed to nurture the development of such organism.
2. “Human cloning” means human asexual reproduction, accomplished by introducing the genetic material of a human somatic cell into a fertilized or unfertilized oocyte whose nucleus has been or will be removed or inactivated, to produce a living organism with a human or predominantly human genetic constitution.
3. “Human embryo” means a living organism of the species homo sapiens from the single-celled stage to eight weeks’ development.
4. “Human somatic cell” means a cell having a complete set of chromosomes obtained from a living or deceased human organism of the species homo sapiens at any stage of development.
5. “Oocyte” means a human ovum.
2002 Acts, ch 1127, §3
707B.4 HUMAN CLONING — PROHIBITIONS — EXCEPTIONS — PENALTY.
1. A person shall not intentionally or knowingly do any of the following:
a. Perform or attempt to perform human cloning.
b. Participate in performing or in an attempt to perform human cloning.
c. Transfer or receive a cloned human embryo for any purpose.
d. Transfer or receive, in whole or in part, any oocyte, human embryo, fetus, or human somatic cell, for the purpose of human cloning.
2. This section shall not restrict areas of scientific research not specifically prohibited, including in vitro fertilization; the administration of fertility-enhancing drugs; or research in the use of nuclear transfer or other cloning techniques to produce molecules, deoxyribonucleic acid, tissues, organs, plants, animals other than humans, or cells other than human embryos.
3. a. A person who violates subsection 1, paragraph “a” or “b”, is guilty of a class “C” felony.
b. A person who violates subsection 1, paragraph “c” or “d”, is guilty of an aggravated misdemeanor.
4. A person who violates this section in a manner that results in a pecuniary gain to the person is subject to a civil penalty in an amount that is twice the amount of the gross gain.
5. A person who violates this section and who is licensed pursuant to chapter 148, 150, or 150A is subject to revocation of the person’s license.
6. A violation of this section is grounds for denial of an application for, denial of renewal of, or revocation of any license, permit, certification, or any other form of permission required to practice or engage in any trade, occupation, or profession regulated by the state.
Sign The Petition to Ban Human Cloning in Iowa!
Iowa Right to Life is circulating a petition to reinstate the Ban on Human Cloning in Iowa. Help stop the farming of humans in Iowa.
Return signed petitions to:
Iowa Right to Life
2024 NW 92nd Court, Suite 14
Clive, Iowa 50325
Toll free: 877.595.9406