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The state Assembly on Thursday passed AB 499, a proposed ban on all forms of human cloning in Wisconsin.
The bill would outlaw the cloning of embryos both for reproductive purposes and for what practitioners have called research or therapeutic cloning, the making of a cloned embryo for the purpose of extracting stem cells. Penalties for violating the bill if it were to become law would go up to ten years in prison and $1 million in fines.
The bill was amended to exempt non-human cloning and also to eliminate language regarding parthenogenesis, a process by which a female egg can be stimulated to divide without having first been fertilized. Sponsors conceded that such a process in humans is still too theoretical to be worth active consideration.
The matter now depends on Senate debate of the counterpart bill, SB 243.
Governor Jim Doyle has indicated he will veto the bill, stating it would hinder overall stem-cell research in Wisconsin and that research cloning can have a humanitarian purpose.
"To me it's unthinkable that we would stop research to help a child who needs a transplant and could get their own cells," Doyle said following an executive leadership summit on Thursday on bio-based industry. Read more about both sides of the Wisconsin cloning debate
Les Chappell contributed to this report