Weldon Challenges Hatch to Debate with Him the Science & Ethics Behind His Support for Human Cloning Says Senator is Misguided in His Hope

Date: 04/30/2002

Congressman Dave Weldon
April 30, 2002

WASHINGTON, DC – After hinting at it for several months, Senator Orin Hatch, (R-Utah) released a statement earlier today expressing his support for so called therapeutic cloning-the creation of cloned human embryos for the sole purpose of experimental scientific research.

Upon hearing the report, Representative Dave Weldon, M.D., a former Army Medical Corps physician with a background of experience in molecular genetics research and current medical internist who authored the human cloning ban, issued the following statement in response to Senator Hatch’s disappointing decision.

“I read the Senator’s statement of support for so called therapeutic cloning and I must say it is fraught with bad science and bad information. The skewed logic which says: it’s not really a person or human embryo because it’s just an unfertilized egg, but, just in case, we’ll ban the implantation-strikes me as a very odd construct.

“Additionally, despite the Senator’s assurances, ‘therapeutic cloning’ is most surely an open door invitation to reproductive cloning. Does anyone actually believe that when (not if) a cloned embryo is removed from the laboratories and is implanted into a woman’s womb, that supporters of therapeutic cloning will invoke the implantation ban of their bill? How would they enforce it? Would the woman be forced to abort the “illegal product?” Such a law makes it a crime not to destroy a human embryo. That’s morally and ethically absurd.

“This point alone should be enough to compel the Senate to pass a complete human cloning ban. Once human cloned embryos are mass-produced in the lab for experimental research purposes, the eugenics revolution will have begun. The most effective way to stop this is to ban the procedure from the start, which the House agreed to with more than a 100-vote majority. The President understands that those who support research on excess embryos, should be consistent and oppose the special creation of cloned embryos for research, called ‘therapeutic cloning,'” said Congressman Weldon.

“When Senator Hatch testified before the Government Reform Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources on July 17, 2001 he said, ‘I would like to comment on the work of the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine in Norfolk, Virginia, which is creating embryos in order to conduct stem cell research. I find the work of this clinic extremely disturbing.'”

“Why the Senator finds last year’s bio-debate about creating embryos in order to conduct stem cell research “extremely disturbing” but characterizes his decision today to allow creating cloned embryos in order to conduct stem cell research as “an ethically proper fashion” (his words), is perplexing, and provides us yet another example of the slippery slope so many of us worry about. I welcome a debate with Senator Hatch on this issue anytime, anywhere,” concluded Weldon.

For more information on human cloning, please go to http://www.house.gov/weldon/