SharksWithLasers -- Seth Cooper

A CUTTING-EDGE BLOG FOR THE WORLD OF THE 21st CENTURY, Currently operated by Seth L. Cooper, a 27 year-old attorney in Seattle (sethlcooper at comcast dot net)

Friday, March 25, 2005

CLONING BILL CONTINUES ITS MAD SCIENCE MARCH THROUGH THE STATE LEGISLATURE. Sweeping legislation promoting human cloning—in the guise of House Bill 1268—will once again go before the Senate Labor, Commerce, Research & Development Committee on Monday, March 28 (subject to change, according to state’s summary page).

This bill will certainly be a topic of conversation on Saturday’s Republican Radio, when Sound Politics’ own Marsha Richards interviews Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Wesley J. Smith. Smith will discuss human cloning and the Terri Schiavo case that has been grabbing so many national headlines. Richards will be interviewing Smith between 11:20am to Noon, with station lists and streaming audio available here.

HB 1268, which I last blogged about here, states that “[a]ny attempt to clone a human being is in direct conflict with the policies of this state.” But the bill engages in deception through political re-definition of terms. The context of the quoted sentence is a paragraph that re-defines “cloning of a human being” to simply mean cloning a human and bringing it all the way to birth. The bill also paves the way for fetal farming and the cloning of animal-human hybrids, among other things.

Last week, HB 1268 was the subject of a lengthy floor debate in the House of Representatives. The bill passed by a vote of 59-36. The House roll call vote is available through HB 1268’s summary page. Some courageous Representatives offered some amendments that would have made a horrible bill a little less horrible, but all of them failed.

Sadly, some of the only local coverage of the bill has focused upon some controversial statements made about the bill on the house floor. (See Wednesday’s article in The Olympian, here.) Why wasn't there coverage about the utter deception pertetrated by the now-dead Senate Bill 5594, which initially claimed to outlaw all human cloning? Why no serious attention to the possibility of fetal farming and other ethically problematic practices that HB 1268 seeks to promote?

In any case, I have not yet had a chance to listen to March 15 floor debate on HB 1268 (which is archived at TVW’s site, here). Those who are most interested in preventing the reduction of human life to a raw material for harvesting would do well to avoid making inflammatory analogies or bringing in extraneous issues into the debate. At bottom, the issue is this: should the laws of the state promote the creation of a class of human life that is targeted for destruction for medical experimentation or does human life have inherent worth and dignity that is worthy of respect?

My prior post also discusses the prevailing lack of understanding demonstrated by the Senate Committee members the last time they dealt with such cloning legislation. It will be interesting to see what they do this time around.

Going back to Smith and the Terri Schiavo case, be sure to check out his recent blog post at Secondhand Smoke concerning his Court TV debate with a bioethicist. Smith got the so-called bioethicist (heh) to agree that Terri’s organs should be subject to harvesting...

(Cross-blogged at Sound Politics.)

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)

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