Lawmakers may not get the opportunity to go on record on the
cloning controversy this year.
House Bill 2142 was pulled from
the Thursday morning agenda of the Senate Human Resources Committee
by its author, Sen. Bernest Cain, D-OKC.
The bill would outlaw
human cloning for both therapeutic and reproductive purposes. It
would allow the use of somatic cell nuclear transfer technology for
the cloning of DNA, molecules, and animals.
The measure makes
noncompliance a felony punishable by a possible $1 million
Thursday was the deadline for hearing bills in opposite-
house committee, which means the cloning issue may not be addressed
in legislation again until next year.
"I believed the bill was
too restrictive." Cain said. "It is an issue that needs to be
addressed, and it will be addressed, just not this year. Because it
is such a controversial issue, it will probably be referred to an
interim study for more research."
Before its death, the bill had
been moving smoothly through the Legislature. Last week, it sailed
through the House on a vote of 96-0, and its support was so
widespread that Rep. Opio Toure, D-OKC, its House author, felt
confident he could have it passed and signed into law within the
Its demise came abruptly, with the Senate author's
realization that the bill was much more restrictive than he had
Many conservative interest groups, however, would like
to have seen House Bill 2142 passed in its original form.
Lauinger, state chairman of Oklahomans for Life, believes the Toure/
Cain bill would have put a halt to the "harvesting of embryos for
The issue of human cloning is a touchy one,
and like many new technologies, it has met with a wave of public
apprehension. While some hail the wealth of new information cloning
could provide, others imagine the ethical and moral nightmares it
This year the Legislature attempted to address
many citizens' concerns.
Initially, lawmakers filed four pieces
of cloning legislation, more than any other state in the nation -
including the Toure/Cain measure.
But does the bill go far
enough? Or has it already overstepped reasonable bounds?
argue that passage of House Bill 2142 would make the Oklahoma
Legislature appear unsympathetic to the scientific community. This
could make the state an unappealing location for research
laboratories, and potentially impede the growth of Oklahoma's
Before the bill stalled in the Senate
committee, Toure said he felt that the Legislature recognized and
intended to address these concerns.
"I think that most of us here
are very interested in making sure that we have scientific and
medical advancement," he said. "But at the same time, we have to
strike a balance between an ethical, moral, and religious
He also pointed out that the bill allows for
therapeutic cloning, and said its intention is not to hamper
"It's a real technical area; which may mean that we
need a legislative task force to study the issue more," he said. "We
need to make sure that we're not creating legal problems in how we
define things that would run other folks out of business, folks that
are not even doing cloning related to reproduction. …