Lawmakers Consider Restricted Cloning Research

A committee is considering a ban on the cloning of an entire human being -- while still allowing stem cell research to continue.

NewsCenter 5's Kelley Tuthill said that when a Worcester company announced last month that it had cloned a human embryo, Massachusetts was thrust into a worldwide debate.

That debate moved to Beacon Hill on Wednesday, where lawmakers considered restricting such research.

Dr. Robert Lanza spoke on behalf of the Worcester company, saying that Advanced Cell Technology supports legislation that bans human, not therapeutic cloning.

"It comes down to whether a ball of cells -- that's microscopic -- warrants the same rights as an adult or child who may die because we fail to move the moral line," Lanza said.

But that moral line is of utmost importance to some of the speakers who represent Bay State Catholics, Tuthill said.

"Therapeutic cloning manipulates human beings and violates their dignity by creating them for the express purpose of destroying them by the extraction of their stem cells. We consciously chose to exploit powerless human beings as factories for their tissues," the Rev. Ted Pacholczyk said.

Another religious leader said that the cat is already out of the bag.

"I contend that such legislation would impose greater burdens than benefits on society in a variety if ways -- economic, academic and social. It is foolhardy to assume a ban in mass will thwart pursuits elsewhere," Beth Israel Chaplin Rabbi Terry Bard said.