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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Letter to Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack opposing Senate Bill 2118

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March 29, 2002

The Honorable Thomas J. Vilsack
State Capitol Building
Des Moines, IA 50319

Dear Governor Vilsack:

On behalf of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and the Iowa Biotechnology Association (IBA), I am writing to express concern with legislation pending in the Iowa House of Representatives. Senate Bill 2118, in its current form, would prohibit all forms of human cloning. By making researchers Class C felons, this bill will effectively outlaw nuclear transfer technology for therapeutic purposes.

BIO and IBA are opposed to human reproductive cloning. It is too dangerous technically and raises far too many ethical and social questions to be undertaken. However, using cloning technology (somatic cell nuclear transfer) to clone human cells for therapeutic purposes is considered one of the most promising avenues of research for developing cures for a wide array of diseases and disabilities.

We concur with recent recommendations by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) that the cloning of human beings for reproductive purposes should be prohibited. However, the report also states that "the scientific and medical considerations that justify a ban on human reproductive cloning at this time are not applicable to nuclear transplantation to produce stem cells. Because of the considerable potential for developing new medical therapies to treat life-threatening diseases and advancing biomedical knowledge, the panel supported the conclusion of a previous National Academies' report — Stem Cells and the Future of Regenerative Medicine — that recommends that biomedical research using nuclear transplantation to produce stem cells be permitted." (A copy of this report is available on the NAS Web site, www.nationalacademies.org.)

The implications of cloning a human being need to be addressed by scientists, ethicists, religious leaders, health professionals, patients and broader society. We are concerned that, unless people clearly understand the benefits and limitations of different scientific techniques, well-meaning legislation will continue to threaten vital research.

Thank you for your consideration of our concerns. If you have any questions, please contact me or Patrick Kelly, director of state government relations, at (202) 962-9200.

Sincerely,

Carl B. Feldbaum
President

cc: Iowa Biotechnology Association

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