Monday, February 26, 2007

Archbishop Hanus responds to the cloning bill vote

The following is from the Iowa Catholic Conference email newsletter (2/25)
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"Cloning – Senate File 162 goes to Gov. Culver

It was an interesting week but ultimately a disappointing one as the Iowa House approved SF 162 – the cloning bill – by a single vote on Thursday night, Feb. 22. (Rep. Betty DeBoef – R mistakenly voted aye). The bill passed the House 52-46. Fifty-one is the constitutional majority needed to pass.

Two Democrats, Rep. Michael Reasoner and Rep. Dolores Mertz opposed the bill as did all Republicans. (Also, if you were listening to the debate, you noticed that Archbishop Hanus’s testimony and recent op-ed piece were read from the floor.) Please thank your legislator if they opposed the bill.

A public hearing held Feb. 21 brought many pro-life supporters to the House chamber. Thanks to the Knights of Columbus and other pro-life groups, Iowa Right to Life, Iowans for LIFE, and the Iowa Christian Alliance for their efforts. Information about defeating the bill also was distributed to Christian school supporters.

SF 162, when signed by Governor Chet Culver, will repeal Iowa’s current ban on cloning and put in a ban on “reproductive” cloning – bringing a cloned embryo to term. SF 162 will make it possible for human embryos to be created by cloning and then destroyed to extract stem cells from the embryo. Those embryonic stem cells will be used for research.

Here is the reaction from Archbishop Hanus to the vote:

“With deep sadness, I regret the recent action by the Iowa House and Senate to change Iowa’s law which banned human cloning.

“In recent weeks and months, I strove to explain Catholic teaching. This teaching is inspired by Jesus’ call to respect every human being, especially the most vulnerable among us. Catholic thought also supports scientific research based on sound ethical principles. Experimentation on non-embryonic stem cells has produced many medical therapies which have helped persons suffering from a wide range of ailments. Let us pray that Iowa tax dollars will be used only for these efforts.

“Many legislators formed their consciences correctly. I thank them and invite Catholics to show their appreciation.

We have just entered the season of Lent. Lent is a time when we are called to intensified prayer, generous almsgiving and penitential fasting. I urge all members of the Catholic community to enter into this season with greater seriousness. Let us all do penance.”

Thank you so much for your efforts on this legislation. We were fighting an uphill battle against Governor Culver and the legislature’s Democratic leadership as this bill was a top priority. An effort to appropriate money for an embryonic stem cell research center will come later in the session."

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