On June 3, 1998, Governor John Engler signed the Cloning Prohibition Package into law which came into effect March 1999.
This package of legislation prohibits engaging or attempting to engage in human cloning. “Human cloning” means the use of human somatic cell nuclear transfer technology to produce a human embryo. “Human embryo” means a human egg cell with a full genetic composition capable of differentiating and maturing into a complete human being. “Human somatic cell nuclear transfer” means transferring the nucleus of a human somatic cell into an egg cell from which the nucleus has been removed or rendered inert. “Human somatic cell” means a cell of a developing or fully developed human being that is not and will not become a sperm or egg cell.
H.B. 5475 prohibits the expenditure of state funds for the purpose of human cloning. A person will not use state funds for scientific research or cell-based therapies not specifically prohibited by that section. H.B. 4962 provides that individuals found in violation of the cloning ban are guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $10,000,000 or both.
On May 28, 1997, Representative Kirk Profit introduced H.B 4846 to prohibit the cloning of human beings with a civil fine of up to 10 million dollars for those who attempt to clone humans. RLM did not have a specific policy on cloning at that time, however its policies against human embryo research, etc. suggested that human cloning should also be prohibited.
A hearing on H.B. 4846 was scheduled for January 20, 1998. A groundswell of support among legislators seemed to be building in the wake of Dr. Richard Seed’s, a Chicago area scientist, announcement of his plans to clone humans. Senator Loren Bennett introduced a bill, S.B.864, that imposes a licenses/registration revocation of 3-10 years for health professionals that attempt to clone humans in the Senate on 2/5/98. Rep. Michelle McManus introduced H.B. 4962 on 1/25/97 to make cloning a felony offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison. On 1/14/98 Rep. George Mans introduced H.B. 5475 to prohibit any state funds from being used for human cloning. A hearing on all three of these bills was held in the House Health Policy Committee on 1/20/98, and the bills were all reported to the House floor.
On January 27, 1998, the House passed all three bills by votes of 92-11. The dissenting votes all expressed concerns that the bans may “chill” legitimate scientific research. RLM engaged in further discussions with the research community to tighten the language of the bills even further to make it unequivocally clear that we did not want to see legitimate research inhibited.
On April 14, 1998, the Senate Health Policy Committee took up and unanimously passed the four bill human cloning package, the three House bills and Sen. Bennett’s bill.
On April 28, 1998, the Senate unanimously approved the Human Cloning Prohibition package. S.B. 864, as it was added to the package in the Senate, was passed by the House on 5/14/98 by a vote of 90-7. The House then completed the package by concurring in the Senate amendments to the House bills on 5/19/98 with 85+ votes on each bill.