Social conservatives are decrying a New Jersey law that permits creating cloned children for research.

The bill, signed January 4 by Gov. James McGreevey, is the first to allow any human cloning. It permits implanting a cloned human embryo into a woman's uterus, where the embryo can grow into a fetus. In addition, the law allows "embryonic or cadaveric fetal tissue" to be donated for research.

"We laid out a vision to make New Jersey a leader in medical research and medical care," McGreevey said, "to give hope to the hundreds of thousands of families across the state affected by chronic and life-threatening disease."

Efforts to ban all forms of human cloning have stalled in the U.S. Senate. In July 2002, the President's Council on Bioethics recommended a complete ban on human cloning for reproduction but only a four-year moratorium on cloning for research.

Human cloning differs from sexual procreation, in which sperm and egg combine to form a human embryo. Instead, adult DNA is implanted into an egg to become a cloned human embryo and, later, a fetus or newborn baby.

Under the New Jersey law, human cloning can only be done for biomedical research, not reproduction. But opponents say the distinction is meaningless.

"The ban can't be enforceable," said Robert George, a member of the President's Council on Bioethics and a professor of political science at Princeton University. "There's simply no way to force a woman to have an abortion if she doesn't way to destroy [the cloned human embryo or fetus]."

Related Elsewhere:

Other news articles on the bill include:

Cloning and the First State | With a dishonest bill pending, Delaware looks to join New Jersey as a haven for human cloning. (The Weekly Standard)
A bold step | Governor signs ...
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