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May 3, 2002
Senator Hatch Abandons Pro-Life Image
Human Embryos Don’t Qualify for Protection 
Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican who was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1976 and who has called himself "pro-life" throughout his political career, on May 1st endorsed the creation of cloned human embryos for research. In doing so, he opposes the bill authored by Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) and supported by President George W. Bush, that makes it illegal to create human clones in the United States, or to import them or potential products made from them from other countries.

Sen. Hatch has joined his close friend Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) along with other pro-abortion leaders in the Senate in endorsing a new bill that would allow human embryos to be created through cloning so that they can be killed for their stem cells. The measure would prohibit implanting a cloned embryo in a woman’s womb – still another "clone and kill" bill.

Senator Hatch previously abandoned his pro-life stance by supporting embryonic stem cell research. The largely pro-life population of Utah must indeed be more than disappointed in this turn of events, but they should not be surprised. Hatch is one of the many Republicans in Congress who has maintained a "pro-life" voting record on legislation related to funding of abortions and regulating or restricting the practice of abortion, but who justify abortion in cases where the baby was conceived through rape or incest (approximately 30,000 babies per year whose lives are considered expendable), a stance that ensures that abortion remains legal. Politicians who justify abortion, for whatever reason, can be expected to dismiss the importance of innocent human life under other circumstances including the killing of embryonic babies for scientific experimentation.

Ramesh Ponnuru (NRO Online – Washington Bulletin, 4/29/02) reminds us that, "Last year, Hatch justified his position [in support of embryonic stem cell research] by arguing that ‘human life begins in the womb, not a petri dish or refrigerator.’" "In some recent interviews, Hatch has suggested that a cloned human embryo not implanted in the womb would not be a human life either." On May 2nd, he repeated that view by saying, "Human life . . . begins in a mother’s nurturing womb," not when the clone is created in a laboratory. (USA Today, 5/2/02) Senator Hatch’s self-deception is astonishing. A human embryo is a human life. That is the science. None of us, including Senator Hatch, started out in our mother’s wombs – our lives began at fertilization in our mother’s fallopian tube! In-vitro babies’ lives begin in a petri dish! Cloned embryos’ lives begin through somatic cell nuclear transfer! All human embryos are living human beings.

Congressman Dave Weldon, M.D. (R-FL), a former Army Medical Corps physician with a background of experience in molecular genetics research and current medical internist who authored the human cloning ban, issued a statement in response to Senator Hatch’s announcement:

"I read the Senator’s statement of support for so-called therapeutic cloning and I must say it is fraught with bad science and bad information. The skewed logic, which says: it’s not really a person or a human embryo because it’s just an unfertilized egg, but, just in case, we’ll ban the implantation – strikes me as a very odd construct." Congressman Weldon has challenged Senator Hatch to a debate, "any time, anywhere."

[Editor’s Note] With respect to the phony argument about allowing "therapeutic" cloning but prohibiting "reproductive" cloning, please remember that there is no difference. This argument is simply a semantic game designed to confuse people. Once a cloned animal or human embryo is in existence, reproduction has already occurred. Reproduction does not occur in the womb, as we pointed out above. Implantation in the womb takes place after reproduction has occurred. Don’t let your Senators get away with that excuse for opposing the Brownback/Landrieu cloning ban.

Republican National
Coalition for Life

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