House bans all human cloning
For the second year in a row, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a ban on all forms of human cloning.

"We cannot afford to treat the issue of human embryo cloning lightly," said Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich, one of the bill's cosponsors. "The human race is not open to experimentation at any level, even the molecular level."

Though the bill passed in a 241-155 vote (see how your representative voted here), it did so by a slightly smaller margin than last year's 265-162 vote for a very similar bill, which stalled in the Senate.

Reports today say the new bill faces "an uncertain future" in the Senate.

"Proponents in the Senate have conceded they do not have the 60 votes necessary to end debate and force a vote on the bill," the Associated Press reports. "It also is unclear how aggressively Majority Leader Bill Frist, a heart surgeon from Tennessee who has taken a middle ground on embryo research issues, will push the anti-cloning measure."

The vote came after an alternative bill, which would have banned reproductive human cloning but allowed the procedure for research, was defeated in a 231-174 vote. Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., said that allowing research cloning "would license the most ghoulish and dangerous enterprise in human history."

President Bush welcomed the House's vote and called for the Senate to act quickly in passing the bill. "Like most Americans, I believe human cloning is deeply troubling, and I strongly support efforts by Congress to ban all human cloning," he said. "We must advance the promise and cause of medical science, including through ethical stem cell research, yet we must do so in ways that respect human dignity and help build a culture of life."

Under the bill, anyone engaged ...

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