Press Releases

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today called for passage of legislation they have sponsored to develop ethical stem cell research and prohibiting the cloning of a human being.

“I enthusiastically look forward to the day when stem cell research is able to bring cures to individuals otherwise debilitated by disease and injury,” Senator Hatch said. “We must remember our society can make no true progress if science operates independent of ethics.  Senator Feinstein’s and my legislation strikes the right balance between these two interests and protects the sanctity of human life while simultaneously opening the door for future stem cell-based cures.”

“This new research highlights the great promise and potential danger of this type of research,” Senator Feinstein said.  “Science like this could one day make it possible to cure a host of debilitating diseases.  But one thing is clear: Congress should ban human reproductive cloning for all time.  It is unethical, and it should be illegal.  We should make it a federal crime with serious consequences.  Senator Hatch and I have been working on this legislation for years.  We will redouble our efforts and build the support necessary to pass it into law.”

The Human Cloning Ban and Stem Cell Protection Act of 2007 would allow embryonic stem cell research – known as somatic cell nuclear transplantation – to proceed under strict oversight from the federal government.  However, the bill would draw a distinct line between this promising research and human reproductive cloning, which it bans outright. 
The legislation is co  sponsored by Senators Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).

 Specifically, the Human Cloning Ban and Stem Cell Protection Act would:

  • Make it a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison to clone or attempt to clone a human being, without exception.
  • Establish fines of $1 million or three times any profits made (whichever is greater) on any person who clones or attempts to clone a human being.  This financial penalty is in addition to the 10-year prison term.
  • Allow the most promising form of stem cell research (somatic cell nuclear transplantation) to be conducted on a human egg for up to 14 days only, under strict ethical standards and federal regulation.  This 14- day requirement is consistent with the standard established in the United Kingdom and recommended by the California Advisory Committee on Human Cloning.
  • Allow this stem cell research only to take place on unfertilized eggs.
  • Ban profiteering and coercion by requiring that all egg donations for this stem cell research be voluntary, and that women who donate eggs can only be compensated minimally – large payments to induce donation are prohibited.
  • Prohibit the purchase or sale of unfertilized eggs, including eggs that have undergone nuclear transplantation.
  • Require that nuclear transplantation occur in labs completely separate from labs that engage in vitro fertilization, to prevent a “blurring of the lines” and avoid the risk that eggs used in legitimate and important nuclear transplantation research would then be implanted in a woman.
  • Prohibit the export of eggs that have undergone nuclear transplantation to any foreign country that does not ban human cloning.  This prohibition is designed to avoid the risk that valuable research in the United States will result in a human clone anywhere in the world.
  • Include strong ethics requirements that mandate informed consent by egg donors; review of any nuclear transplantation research by an ethics board; and safety and privacy protections.
  • Establish civil penalties of up to $250,000 per violation for any researcher who violates the bill’s ethics requirements (even without attempting to clone a human and becoming subject to the 10-year prison term and $1 million fine).