Legislators Seek to Make Embryonic Stem Cell Research a Felony

by Andy Birkey ,  The Minnesota Independent | 2011-03-10

Several Minnesota Democrats joined with 31 Republicans in offering a bill Wednesday that would ban embryonic stem cell research in the state under the guise of banning “human cloning.” The Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2011 would make somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), a component of creating embryonic stem cell lines, illegal and would impose a felony charge on scientists who conduct such research. Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, the main proponent of the bill, has stated that creating stem cell lines is akin to killing a human being.

The bill, HF998, defines “human cloning” as “human asexual reproduction accomplished by introducing nuclear material from one or more human somatic cells into a fertilized or unfertilized oocyte whose nuclear material has been removed or inactivated so as to produce a living organism at any stage of development that is genetically virtually identical to an existing or previously existing human organism.”

A brochure by the International Society for Stem Cell Research outlines the process for the creation of embryonic stem cells — exactly what would be outlawed by the bill:

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