Experts testify on behalf of, against proposed ban

JEFFERSON CITY – Human cloning and Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer provides false hope to patients and families, Wesley J. Smith said in support of the human cloning ban.

“It is the right and duty of the people … to regulate this emerging field that is becoming so consequential and powerful that it is developing the means to literally alter human nature at the molecular level,” Smith said.

Smith, author of Consumer’s Guide to a Brave New World, has worked for more than 10 years against the “ongoing erosion of the sanctity and equality of life ethic.

Smith and David Prentice appeared to support Sen. Matt Bartle’s (R-Jackson County) Senate Bill 160 to ban human cloning.

“The moral risk of dehumanization is an inescapable by-product of human cloning,” Smith said.

Both opponents and supporters of the human cloning ban agree on banning reproductive cloning.

Supporters want both reproductive and therapeutic cloning banned.

“Allowing scientists to practice this technique would simply allow them to perfect the cloning process and probably enhance the probability of reproductive cloning,” Prentice said.

The lead author of a South Korean cloning study, Woo Suk Hwang, admitted the technique in his lab cannot be separated from reproductive cloning.

Pro-choice advocates are against any human cloning because of the fact this places women at risk for exploitation for donor eggs, Prentice said.

The process would require 100 eggs per patient, if you could ever get the process to work, Prentice said.

Addressing the needs of the 17 million diabetes patients in the United States would require 850 to 1.7 billion eggs.

“If you could collect for example an average of ten eggs per donor … you would need 85 to 170 million women of child bearing age as egg donors,” Prentice said.

Such demand would place women overseas at risk of those seeking to take advantage of poor women in other countries, Prentice said.

Adult stem cells offer an alternative.

Smith said adult stem cells from bone marrow have been found to repair damaged muscle and may have future use in the treatment of neuromuscular diseases such as muscular dystrophy.

“Liposuctioned fat has adult stem cells, so certainly as a nation we probably have an unlimited supply of adult stem cells,” Prentice said.