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October 13, 2005 Edition

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Sign cloning ban, other measures into law

The Wisconsin state Legislature has passed a comprehensive human cloning ban. This measure has been sent to Governor Jim Doyle to sign into law or veto.

Governor Doyle has the opportunity to put into law a ban on both "reproductive" and "therapeutic" or "research" cloning. Both types of cloning involve the reproduction of a fully human life.

Related articles:

Oct. 6, 2005 edition:
State Senate: Passes pro-life legislative proposals

Sept. 15, 2005 edition:
• Eye on the Capitol -- With budget enacted: Legislature turns to other concerns

June 30, 2005 edition:
• Editorial -- Cloning ban: Support effort to protect all human life

June 9, 2005 edition:
• Editorial -- Plea to Legislature: Please don't destroy life

May 19, 2005 edition:
• Editorial -- As abortions drop: It's time to take a second look

March 17, 2005 edition:
• Guest Commentary -- Pharmacist: Punished for beliefs

November 25, 2004 edition:
• Eye on the Capitol -- Debate over biotechnology: Raises ethical and moral questions

April 29, 2004 edition:
• Editorial -- Pharmacists: Protect their conscience rights

The cloning ban is a high priority for the Wisconsin Catholic Conference (WCC) and the state's pro-life organizations. While the governor has indicated that he may veto the bill, the WCC is urging citizens to contact the governor and encourage him to approve the cloning ban.

Why is the cloning ban so important? Perhaps the most important reason is that cloning "affronts the dignity, equality, and freedom of human life at its very beginning," in the words of Peggy Hamill, state director of Pro-Life Wisconsin.

She so aptly points out that in cloning, a child is not created. Instead, a life is simply manufactured. Most people seem to agree that cloning persons for reproduction is unethical and immoral.

But it is the so-called "therapeutic" or "research" cloning that seems to generate more controversy. Some people believe it is necessary to allow cloning in order to do research or find cures for diseases. But cloning human embryos for a supposed "good" reason does not make it ethical or moral. As we have said many times before, the end does not justify the means.

John Huebscher, WCC executive director, has observed that "the public has a role, indeed a responsibility, to set boundaries for ethical research." The cloning ban draws a line that will not stop the advancement of scientific knowledge or the discovery of cures, but instead points the way toward ethical means of achieving those goals.

"The issue is not whether or not one supports cures, but whether or not one supports unlimited means to arrive at those cures," noted Huebscher. Science and society have always accepted that there are certain boundaries that must be maintained to protect human beings from becoming mere scientific objects.

It may be difficult to see a tiny human embryo, but it does not make it any less human. Natural law teaches us that life begins at conception. Every person began his or her life at that point.

A comprehensive ban on human cloning will not hinder lifesaving medical research in Wisconsin. Quite the contrary. There are already many ethical alternatives available in using embryonic stem cells from cord blood and in using adult stem cells. Adult cells have already treated many diseases. We know they have even more potential for success.

Here's what concerned citizens can do:

• Contact Governor Jim Doyle at the state Capitol urging him to sign the cloning ban into law. Call him at 608-266-1212.

• Contact your state legislators. The state Assembly passed the cloning ban on a 59-38 vote and the state Senate on a 21-12 vote. If the governor vetoes the cloning ban, the Legislature could attempt to override the veto.

Also urge the governor to approve the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, the Conscience Protection Act, and the Cord Blood Bill. All of these pieces of legislation ensure respect for human life in our state.

Mary C. Uhler

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Diocese of Madison, The Catholic Herald
Offices: Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center, 702 S. High Point Road, Madison
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