WASHINGTON -- House members renewed their efforts Wednesday to ban human cloning, spurred by a company's claim to have produced the first human clone.
Reps. Dave Weldon, R-Fla. and Bart Stupak, D-Mich., reintroduced their bill, passed 265-162 in the House during the last legislative session, but stalled in the Senate by lawmakers who want an exemption that allows cloning for research purposes.
Clonaid's claim last month to have produced the country's first human clone has not been verified. The company has ties to the Raelian sect, which believes space aliens created life on Earth.
Weldon and Stupak said they were approached by scores of lawmakers outraged by the company's claims.
"A lot of people approached us and said 'Are you going to introduce your bill again? Whether a hoax or not, we think it's wrong,'" Stupak said.
Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., said Clonaid helped efforts to push a ban. "It has created genuine energy."
Weldon said, "Any attempt at human cloning, for whatever purpose, is a gross form of human experimentation that the American people oppose."
Senate bill also
A similar cloning bill is expected to be introduced in the Senate. The House bill's authors made one concession from the last version, clarifying language that bans importing a cloned embryo. Critics complained that the broadly written earlier version would have banned the import of products of a cloned embryo, like stem cells and protein. Now, the language explicitly bans a cloned embryo but does not mention the products of a cloned embryo.