Stemming med research

A new bill would prevent stem cell research, not cloning.

by Daily Editorial Board

Committees in both chambers of the Minnesota Legislature passed a bill last week that deceptively claims to prevent human cloning. This legislation is redundant and will limit the stateâÄôs medical research.
The Human Cloning Prevention Act of 2011 criminalizes a specific type of stem cell reproduction, somatic cell nuclear transfer, used for embryonic stem cell research. The bill prohibits creation of cells using SCNT and prevents anyone in Minnesota from shipping or receiving any derivative of SCNT-created cells.
Citing human cloning in the title is sensationalist and misleading. If its authorsâÄô intentions are to prevent cloning, this bill is unnecessary. A state law passed last year has already criminalized the use of living embryos for any experimental or medical research purposes.
The only tangible difference between this bill and last yearâÄôs law is the ban on SCNT and the import of embryos made using SCNT. This provision does nothing but obstruct medical research in Minnesota.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seven in 10 deaths in the U.S. are caused by chronic disease. Stem cell research may help cure these illnesses, and demand for a solution has put stem cell research at the forefront of the medical world.
The University of Minnesota does not use SCNT to create its own embryos, but it does import embryonic stem cells from other states where SCNT is legal.
The Human Cloning Act of 2011 will make the use of certain stem cells illegal and prohibit Minnesota from fully participating in life-saving stem cell research. If this bill were more honestly named âÄî The Stem Cell Research Prevention Act âÄî legislators could see this bill for what it is and reject it.