>Thanks to Bioethics.com (the blog for the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity), I read this editorial. (Free registration) According to his blog, Secondhand Smoke, Mr. Smith tells us that his efforts in Missouri to block a State clone and kill bill resulted in the Kansas City Star’s agreeing to allow him to clarify what the bill means.
We’ve had a similar bill in Texas, last session. HB 1929 defines human life – or at least human cloning – as beginning at implantation. That’s also the same tactic that the Hatch/Feinstein/Specter/Kennedy/Boxer/Harkin/Clinton Bill uses. See the description of the 2002 Bill at the Lasker Foundation, below. The senior Senator from Texas was once one of the proponents. But, look at this language:
Sec. 301. Prohibition on human cloning
(a) DEFINITIONS- In this section:
(1) HUMAN CLONING – The term ‘human cloning’ means implanting or attempting to implant the product of nuclear transplantation into a uterus or the functional equivalent of a uterus.
At that site, you can read Irving Weisman’s explaination, too:
The field of nuclear transplantation to create a new embryonic stem cell line began oddly enough with the efforts to clone whole individual animals. The way it is done is to take the nucleus of any body cell, put that into an egg from an animal of the same species after you have removed the DNA or the chromosomal material from that egg, so that only genetic instruction in that egg comes from the body cell. The next step is to give it a little jolt of electricity, which activates the egg to go into the program of cell division. This can result, in a two cell, then eight cell, then sixteen cell stage of development, and so on until its about a 164 to 320 cell early pre-implantation embryo, called a blastocyst.
Now let me explain the term early pre-implantation embryo because I use it a lot. Normally when an egg is fertilized, all the events I said and all the cell divisions I said, are occurring as the egg is falling through the fallopian tubes toward the uterus. So the egg came out of the ovary, was fertilized in the fallopian tubes and as it’s going through its cell division;, it’s floating. It’s only when it implants in the uterus that you begin the process to make a whole animal or a whole human being.
I think there is a very clear line and the clear line that we define in our National Academy’s panel is that in reproductive cloning you have to put the blastocyst into a prepared uterus with the intent of creating a child. In nuclear transfer to produce embryonic stem cell lines, it is not the intent to do that; and all you do is extract the cells at a stage where you can make an embryonic stem cell line from it. Now, it all depends on intent. Right? Whether one intends to create an embryonic stem cell line or whether one intends to create by reproductive cloning– a human.