June 21, 2005
TO: Members of the Wisconsin Legislature
FROM: James S. Haney, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce
Mark D. Bugher, University Research Park
Tom Still, Wisconsin Technology Council
RE: SB243/AB499/ Therapeutic cloning legislation
We write to urge amending a bill that would effectively ban all cloning-related research in our state. While we oppose on moral and ethical grounds human embryonic cloning for purposes of reproduction, carefully regulated therapeutic cloning for the purposes of medical research and the development on new diagnostic and therapeutic treatments and drugs is worthwhile and ethically defensible.
The bill before you would effectively ban both types of cloning and related research, without regard to the possible — even likely — human benefits of therapeutic cloning. While there are similarities between the two processes in the earliest stage, reproductive and therapeutic cloning are remarkably different in their goals and applications over time.
Any effort to ban therapeutic cloning would chill stem cell research in Wisconsin, which pioneered this science, and send the disturbing message that Wisconsin does not welcome responsible, ethical research conducted by our top scientists.
Wisconsin is one of only a few states that can lead in stem cell research. That cannot happen, however, if our research and development institutions are asked to compete with their hands tied behind their backs.
We urge you to vote against the legislation as proposed until it distinguishes between reproductive and therapeutic human cloning. Please amend the bill to allow carefully regulated therapeutic cloning.
James S. Haney Mark D. Bugher Thomas W. Still