Statement by Congressman Dave Weldon on Senate Consideration of Cloning Ban

Date: 01/24/2002

January 23, 2002

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Weldon, M.D. (R-FL), a physician and internist, released the following statement in response to the Senate Appropriations Labor-HHS Subcommittee hearing on Cloning, which is being held today.

“I am pleased to see that the Senate has now begun to give consideration to a ban on human cloning.  We are in a race against time in stopping human embryo harvesting and destruction. Recognizing the potential implications, the U.S. House of Representatives has already voted overwhelmingly (265-162) in favor of the bipartisan, Weldon/Stupak ban on creating cloned human embryos for research and reproduction.

“Many supporters of embryo stem cell research deemed it unethical to create embryos solely for research purposes. An October 2, 1994, Washington Post editorial labeled this type of destructive research ‘unconscionable.’ Rather than using ‘excess’ embryos, research cloning embraces the creation of cloned embryos solely for research purposes. An overwhelming majority of members disapprove of this action and voted to ban this practice.

“The recent National Academy of Sciences report that advocates a ban on reproductive human cloning, inexplicably states that research cloning – which is the creation of cloned embryos solely for research purposes — should be allowed to continue unchecked.   This proposal is flawed because not only is it unenforceable, but is also harmful to women.

“Potentially there would be hundreds of labs, clinics, and schools across this country engaging in research cloning.  Implantation of a cloned egg in a woman’s womb is a simple procedure, which would occur in the privacy of the doctor/patient relationship.   Once cloned embryos are made available in the laboratory, it is impossible to prevent them from being implanted in a woman’s womb.

Weldon continued, “In order to do research cloning, scientists will have to obtain thousands of women’s eggs.  To do so, money will be paid for these eggs. I am deeply concerned that research cloning would help companies to take advantage of women of lesser means by subjecting them to an invasive procedure and an increased chance of ovarian cancer, not for the purpose of reproduction as with in vitro fertilization, but rather to engage in highly speculative research.

“The Senate’s choice is clear: build on the promising adult stem cell technology that is free from ethical and moral problems versus unproven, speculative human cloning technology that will actually increase the likelihood of reproductive cloning.  The President and the House of Representatives have taken a strong stand against human cloning.  It is now the Senate’s turn to do the right thing,” concluded Weldon.

CONTACT: Pamela Groover, (202) 225-3671