WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., said Wednesday he will introduce legislation to ban human cloning.
The announcement came as Clonaid -- the company claiming to have cloned three babies -- said one of the infants resides in Israel.
Brownback's legislation would ban "all forms of cloning, including research cloning," the Senator's spokesman Erik Hotmire told United Press International. It is "the same legislation President Bush said he wants to sign into law" during his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, Hotmire added.
Under the legislation, scientists who clone a human being would face criminal penalties in the order of 10 years in prison and $1 million dollars in fines, Hotmire said.
Brownback's bill will be challenged by a bi-partisan group of Senators. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Arlen Specter, R-Penn., along with at least two others plan to introduce legislation next week that "allows theraputic use of cloning but bans reproductive cloning," Kennedy's spokesman Jim Manley told UPI. Therapeutic cloning is the use of the procedure to produce cells that could lead to treatments for disease.
Despite the slim majority of Republicans -- most of whom favor a ban on cloning -- in the Senate following the elections last Fall, Manley said, "they still do not have the votes necessary to get a complete ban on cloning passed."
Bridgette Boisselier, President of Clonaid, testified in a Florida court Wednesday that the alleged cloned baby known as Baby Eve is residing in Israel. As yet, Clonaid has offered no proof of its claims to have cloned human babies despite initial promises that independent verification would be available. Clonaid first announced it had succeeded in cloning a human shortly after Christmas last year.
Boisselier was testifying before the Juvenile Court in Broward County, Fla., which is considering whether it should extend protections to the child. The judge in the case concluded the state has no jurisdiction over the child if it is located in Israel.
Similar legislation to Brownback's cloning bill was introduced in the House earlier this month. The House passed a total ban on the technology last year but the Senate failed to pass the measure because some members favored allowing therapeutic cloning. According to the rules of Congress, the legislative process must now start over.
Brownback was scheduled to chair a hearing Wednesday examining the ethics of cloning.
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