The human cloning issue may have stalled in the United States Senate, but it is alive and well in the Garden State. On Sunday, January 4, 2004, New Jersey Governor James McGreevey signed legislation making New Jersey the second state (behind California) to legalize stem-cell research. But New Jersey’s assault on human life does not end with stem cells. Originally, Bill S1909/A2840 was proposed as one where embryonic stem-cell research would be promoted, while human cloning would be banned. But today, New Jersey is the one state in the Union in which it is now perfectly permissible to create, implant, and gestate a human clone—as long as you kill it either immediately at birth or sometime soon thereafter.
Section 2c of the Bill notes: (1) “Embryonic or cadaveric fetal tissue may be donated for research purposes.” Section 2a reads: (1) “It is public policy of this State that research involving the derivation and use of human embryonic stem cells, human embryonic germ cells and human adult stem cells from any source, including somatic cell nuclear transplantation, shall be permitted in this state.” The phrase “somatic cell nuclear transplantation” is simply scientific jargon for human cloning. So, while California permits stem-cell research, that state has at least banned initiating a pregnancy using cloned human embryos.
Another “hidden” message in the language of the New Jersey law revolves around those “human adult stem cells from any source.” Adult stem cells are not present for several weeks after fertilization occurs. In explaining this, Daniel McConchie commented: “For example, bone marrow, which holds the stem cells that make blood, don’t develop until 16-20 weeks gestation. Since it is not currently possible to grow an embryo outside of a woman’s womb to the stage where adult stem cells develop, a normal or cloned embryo would have to be implanted into a woman’s uterus and then later aborted in order to secure these cells” (2004).
To an outside reader, the law may look innocent enough—but once its contents have been thoroughly examined, it is clear that James McGreevey signed an abominable piece of legislation. The law at first appears somewhat innocuous, stating:
A person who knowingly engages or assists, directly or indirectly, in the cloning of a human being is guilty of a crime of the first degree. As used in this section, “cloning of a human being” means the replication of a human individual by cultivating a cell with genetic material through the egg, embryo, fetal and newborn stages into a new human individual.
While this may appear in line with the will of God and the recognized sanctity of human life, the language of the law allows researchers to clone a human from the single-cell stage all the way through the ninth month of pregnancy. The only “catch” is that the clone must be destroyed at birth (or soon thereafter). Thus, researchers can “perfect” their methods (as they kill off the cloned babies—deformed or not) in the hope that the rest of America will one day legalize this disgusting assault on humanity.
The obvious question one might ask is: why? If you were to stop for just a moment and consider what is at the root of most human decisions, what answer might spring to mind? Could it have something to do with money and power? Even in scientific research (especially in scientific research!), money and power play important roles. One of the major proponents of this new legislation was the Biotechnology Industry Organization. Hoping to entice biotech firms with clear-cut freedoms and few governing laws, New Jersey hopes to “increase the bottom line.” As New Jersey Health and Senior Services Commissioner Clifton Lacy remarked: “It will serve as a magnet to bring the scientists and the greatest minds into New Jersey to have the innovations take place here. New Jersey will be at the forefront of scientific advancement for our country” (as quoted in Kastensmidt, 2004).
In fact, the state even went so far as to create a market in embryonic and fetal body parts by allowing “reasonable payment” for “removal, processing, disposal, preservation, quality control, storage, transplantation, or implantation of embryonic or cadaveric fetal tissue.” As McConchie observed:
While it banned “valuable consideration” (profiteering) from such transactions, Gerald Bradley of Notre Dame Law School pointed out in an analysis of the bill that, “excluding ‘reasonable payment’ renders the ban toothless. There is no meaningful difference between ‘valuable consideration’ and ‘reasonable payment’ for such varied services having no objective market value” (2004, emp. and parenthetical item in orig.).
The New Jersey Senate blindly but unanimously voted for the bill. Samuel Kastensmidt lamented:
Christopher Reeve, who suffers from paralysis after falling off a horse in 1995, has been a strong advocate for embryonic stem cell research. At a post-signing celebration, Reeve stated, “Long ago the founding fathers separated church and state, and while we respect everyone’s right, no matter what their religious beliefs, to speak up in the debate, ultimately it has to be a decision of secular law, and New Jersey had the courage to make that choice” (2004).
Someone must remind Christopher Reeve that the embryo that produced him was given the chance to survive and grow into a man. Shouldn’t all embryos have that basic right? Also, we need to remind Christopher Reeve and millions of other Americans that just because we can do something, that does not make it right in the eyes of our Creator. God is the One Who ultimately determines what is good and what is bad, and killing babies for scientific research is an abomination in His eyes (cf. Proverbs 6:16-17).
Kastensmidt, Samuel (2004), “New Jersey Enacts ‘Clone to Kill’ Legislation,” Center for Reclaiming America, [On-line] URL: http://www.reclaimamerica.org/Pages/News/newspage.asp?story=1501.
McConchie, Daniel (2004), “Growing Clones in the Garden State,” The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, [On-line] URL: http://www.cbhd.org/resources/cloning/mcconchie_2004-01-09.htm.
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