A bill to allow the cloning of human embryos for stem-cell research cleared another hurdle at the statehouse Monday, passing out of the House Human Resources Committee. Representative Rod Roberts, a Republican from Carroll, objects to such research as he says that embryo is human life.
"Given the component, if you will, that come together, the life that is created is — at its very core nature — human life." Robert says. The bill passed 12 to nine, on a strictly party-line vote — all the Republicans on the committee voted against it, Democrats voting for it. Representative Bruce Hunter, a Democrat from Des Moines, says he has family members suffering from diseases that the stem cell research might cure. "There are too many unknowns right now to close the door on this type of research and this type of therapeutics," Hunter says. "I think this is the best bet we’ve got going right now."
Representative Lisa Heddens, a Democrat from Ames. agrees. "What do you say to an individual and their family that are looking for a cure for diabetes or Parkinson’s Disease? I think we want to offer hope for families," Heddens says. Current Iowa law does not ban embryonic stem-cell research, but it does ban the creation of cloned embryos in order to do the research. For many Republican critics, including
Representative Rod Roberts of Carroll, that cloned embryo is a human life: "At its very heart and essence it is of human components," Roberts says. "It’s not another species, it’s not an inanimate thing, it is a living organism, and its makeup is human." Roberts and his fellow Republicans favor keeping the current Iowa law which bans any kind of cloning right now.
The bill under consideration still bans using the procedure to create an embryo that would go on to become a full-term baby. The bill faces an uncertain future. The Iowa Senate last week approved the bill by a slim one-vote margin when three Democrats crossed party lines to oppose it. The top Democrat in the Iowa House said last Thursday he didn’t know if the bill could pass the House.