Human Cloning Ban Amendment
H.B. 4858 - Rep. David Agema
H.B. 4858 was introduced on July 27, 2011 and referred to the House Committee on Health Policy. No action on the bill was taken during the entire 2011-2012 session. The bill "died" at the close of the session and will have to be reintroduced in the 2013-2014 session in order to receive any future consideration.
H.B. 4858 amends Michigan’s existing ban on human cloning to prohibit cloning by any technological means, including any future technologies. When the ban was adopted in 1998, only one method of cloning—somatic cell nuclear transfer—appeared viable. But with new technologies emerging, this bill is needed to broaden the ban’s application. This update to the law will ensure that scientists in Michigan will not clone humans through any method.
After the successful cloning of animals such as Dolly the sheep in 1997, scientists raised the possibility of cloning humans using the same methods. Michigan legislators acted quickly to ban human cloning, passing Michigan’s current Human Cloning Ban in 1998.
Under the law, cloning or attempting to clone a human being is a felony punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment, a fine of $10,000,000, or both.
Today, many scientists advocate for “therapeutic cloning,” creating cloned human embryos and then harvesting embryonic stem cells from those embryos, a process that would destroy the cloned human. This process is only theory; it has never been done successfully. However, those in favor of such research argue that future techniques will enable the mass harvesting of embryonic stem cells from cloned human embryos. These embryonic stem cells then could be used to cure many diseases. RLM strongly opposes the both the creation of cloned humans, and the destruction of those cloned individuals at any stage of development, for any reason.
Furthermore, embryonic stem cells have not been used successfully to treat any illnesses, whereas other types of stem cells that do not involve killing embryos have been used for decades to treat more than 70 conditions. See our webpage on stem cell research for more information about the problems with embryonic stem cells and the ethical alternatives that are providing cures right now.