State Representative Andy Thompson of 95th District in Ohio has just introduced H.B. 308, a ban on the practice of human cloning and on the laboratory creation of animal-human hybrids. This will actually be the third recent attempt to pass such legislation, with two previous tries held up in various committees.
Why should we have such a bill? Aren’t the ideas of human cloning and animal-human hybrids simply in the realm of science fiction? Unfortunately, this is very real. For example, a team of scientists from Oregon has recently reported success in the creation of human clones, for the purpose of providing stem-cell lines for research (see “Cloning Report” below). Even more disturbing, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority in the United Kingdom has (since 2008) approved the creation of hybrids and chimeras. As reported in the U.K.’s Daily Mail:
[There are] 155 ‘admixed’ embryos,containing both human and animal genetic material, . . . created since the introduction of the 2008 Human Fertilisation Embryology Act. This legalised the creation of a variety of hybrids, including an animal egg fertilised by a human sperm; ‘cybrids’, in which a human nucleus is implanted into an animal cell; and ‘chimeras’, in which human cells are mixed with animal embryos.
One research institution, Warwick University, has experimented with animal-human hybrids for the past three years. Such efforts have ceased at present due to a lack of funds, but scientists are still enthusiastic about the work. Lord David Alton of the British Parliament has said:
I argued in Parliament against the creation of human- animal hybrids as a matter of principle. None of the scientists who appeared before us could give us any justification in terms of treatment. Ethically it can never be justifiable – it discredits us as a country. It is dabbling in the grotesque.
At every stage the justification from scientists has been: if only you allow us to do this, we will find cures for every illness known to mankind. This is emotional blackmail. Of the 80 treatments and cures which have come about from stem cells, all have come from adult stem cells – not embryonic ones. On moral and ethical grounds this fails; and on scientific and medical ones too.
Lord Alton has said it well. There is no legitimate scientific rationale for human cloning or for animal-human hybrids. Leading the scientific testimony on the Ohio bill will be Dr. David Prentice of the Family Research Council (Washington, D.C.). I will also play a role to testify in favor of the ban.
ALL human life is sacred. No one should be permitted to create human embryos for the mere purpose of scientific experimentation. Whatever the perceived benefits, there are simply other more ethical ways of accomplishing these goals.