The Louisiana House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice on Thursday unanimously approved and sent to the House floor two cloning bills, one... (HB 492) that would ban all human cloning and another (HB 736) that would ban human reproductive cloning but would allow human cloning for research purposes, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. Both measures would impose penalties of a fine up to $10 million and 10 years in prison for conducting reproductive cloning activities. HB 736 also would require the creation of a commission overseen by the state Department of Health and Hospitals that would review and approve all embryonic stem cell research proposals and would submit an annual report to the state Legislature and governor (Moller, New Orleans Times-Picayune, 5/13). Supporters of HB 492, which is sponsored by state Rep. Dan Morrish (D), say that cloning for research purposes is immoral because human life -- in the form of human embryos -- is destroyed in the process, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate. Supporters of HB 736, sponsored by state Rep. Eric LaFleur (D), say that human life is not involved in research cloning because an embryo is not implanted in a woman's uterus and has no differentiated cells, according to the Advocate (Shuler, Baton Rouge Advocate, 5/13). A spokesperson for Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D) said that the governor would consider signing either of the cloning bills but does not want to get involved in the debate, according to the Times-Picayune (New Orleans Times-Picayune, 5/13).

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