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March 19, 1998 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-03-19

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NATION/WORLD

The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 19, 1998 - 9A

States debate issue
of human cloning

Stuck in the rain

NEW YORK (AP) - Having
blocked anti-cloning legislation in
ongress, drug makers are now scram-
ling to do the same with bills that
would make the creation of carbon-
copy humans illegal in 24 states.
Pharmaceutical companies say they
agree with lawmakers who want to bar
fringe scientists from turning out made-
to-order humans.
But they argue that the anti-cloning
bills are so broadly worded they could
also prevent researchers from using
.routine techniques for developing new
rgs.
Ewa tratde groups, have ,hinthed a
state-by-state campaign to fg t.50 anti-'
'cloning bills being taken up this year in
legislatures from California to
Connecticut.
The bills, which emerged after
Chicago scientist Richard Seed pledged
in January to clone a human, ended
drug makers' celebration over the deci-
sion by U.S. Senate leaders to put an
Sti-cloning bill on hold.
A patchwork of state laws would
be "an absolute disaster for medical
research," said Jeff Trewhitt, a
(pokesperson for Pharmaceutical
kesearch & Manufacturers of
America.
Scientists already use cloning tech-
niques to test how identical cells react
to different substances. Researchers
hope one day to grow new skin for burn
ctims and overcome the need for liver
nd kidney donors by cloning whole
organs. Cloning-related research has
already led to heart attack, cystic fibro-
sis and stroke drugs.
"This is not the movie 'Gattaca.' This
is not 'Star Wars,"' Trewhitt said. "This
is well-accepted biomedical research."
These states have taken up anti-
cloning bills this year: Alabama,
Connecticut, Delaware, Florida,
eorgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana,
Kansas, Maryland, Michigan,
Minnesota, Mississippi, New
Hampshire, New Jersey, New York,

North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania,
Rhode Island, South Carolina,
Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin.
"I've got my walking boots on,"
Trewhitt said.
President Clinton has called for a
federal ban on human cloning, but drug
researchers point out that the Food and
Drug Administration already requires
anyone performing such research to file
for permission.
If there has to be a law, industry
groups prefer a federal ban only forbid-
ding the cloning of a whole human
being.
Anti-abortion activists fear cloned
fetuses would be used as lab animals.
"Don't be mistaken. They're going to
abo't until they find a workable form"
of clone, said Delaware state Sen.
Donna Reed, a Republican. "I don't
want that done with humans."
Drug makers were too late to block
the first state anti-cloning law. On Oct.
4, California Gov. Pete Wilson signed a
bill making it a crime to clone a human
or to buy fetal cells to do so. Fines
range up to $1 million.
"The bill is not the worst one
we've seen," said Carl Feldbaum,
president of the Biotechnology
Industry Organization, based in
Washington. "But it creates a prece-
dent that is hard if not impossible to
contend with."
Worse, he said, is a Florida bill that
would forbid even the DNA finger-
printing used in the O.J. Simpson case.
In New Jersey - home of a half-
dozen major drug companies - oppo-
nents of the legislation acted in time.
Charlotte Vandervalk, chair of the com-
mittee that reviews cloning bills,
shelved a measure that would have car-
ried a maximum 20-year prison term
for cloning.
"There's a lot of medical research
that can benefit humanity down the
road" using cloning, she said. "I don't
think we can take the simplistic view
and say we're going to ban it."

Forbes calls
for income
tax overhaul
WASHINGTON (AP) - Steve Forbes began new radio
advertisements this week supporting a bill to scrap the tax
code by 2001.
The ads, airing in Washington, D.C., Arizona, Iowa, and New
Hampshire, represent the latest volley in an increasingly heated
political debate over a plan to repeal the Internal Revenue Code
by 2001. The GOP views the bill as a way to build pressure for
passage of tax reform, and also to cast Democrats as defenders
of a complex and bewildering tax code.
"President Clinton is defending the indefensible, a federal
income tax code that's the biggest source of political pollution
and corruption in America today," Forbes said in the ads. Forbes,
the magazine publishing magnate, unsuccessfully sought the
1996 GOP presidential nomination. The ads are sponsored by
his issues advocacy group, Americans for Hope Growth and
Opportunity.
The Clinton administration has stepped up lobbying
against the plan to scrap the tax, which the White House
describes as irresponsible.
A Forbes spokesperson declined to say how much the
group was spending on the ads, but said they represent just
the first wave of ads this spring.

AP PHOTO
Chinese military police prepare to patrol in the rain outside Beijing's Great Hail of the People
while a session of the National People's Congress continued inside yesterday. Delegates
approved a new cabinet strong on technocrats to aid in the overhaul of the economy.

I

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