2006 Regular Session
To: Judiciary B
By: Representative Smith (39th)
AN ACT TO CREATE THE "HUMAN DIGNITY PROTECTION ACT" THAT PROHIBITS DESTRUCTIVE HUMAN EMBRYO RESEARCH AND THE USE OF CLONING TECHNOLOGY; TO PROVIDE THE FINDINGS AND PURPOSE OF SUCH ACT; TO PROVIDE DEFINITIONS FOR SUCH ACT; TO PROHIBIT CERTAIN RESEARCH AND CONDUCT RELATED TO CLONING; TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS OF THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "Human Dignity Protection Act."
SECTION 2. The State of Mississippi finds the following:
(a) Human embryos are human beings at the earliest stage of development;
(b) Some human embryos are being created and then destroyed to obtain stem cells for research;
(c) Destructive human embryo research to obtain embryonic stem cells raises grave ethical, scientific and medical issues that must be addressed;
(d) The ethical justification for medical and scientific research cannot be based upon the dehumanizing and utilitarian premise that the end justifies any means;
(e) Medical research and treatment does not require the destruction of human life, because it can be ethically pursued in other ways, including the use of adult stem cells;
(f) At least one (1) company has announced that they have successfully cloned a human being at the early embryonic stage of life, and others have announced that they will attempt to clone a human being using the technique known as somatic cell nuclear transfer;
(g) Efforts to create human beings by cloning mark a new and decisive step toward turning human reproduction into a manufacturing process in which human beings are made in laboratories to preordained specifications and, potentially, in multiple copies;
(h) Creating cloned live-born human children, “cloning-to-produce-children,” begins by creating cloned human beings at the embryonic stage of life, a process which some also propose as a wayof creating humanembryos for destructive research as sources of stem cells and tissues for possible treatment of other humans, “cloning-for-biomedical-research”;
(i) Many scientists agree that attempts at “cloning-to-produce-children” pose a massive risk of either producing children who are stillborn, unhealthy, or severely disabled, and that attempts at “cloning-for-biomedical-research” always result in the destruction of human beings at the embryonic stage of life when their stem cells are harvested;
(j) The prospect of creating new human life solely to be exploited (“cloning-to-produce-children”) or destroyed (“cloning-for-biomedical-research”) in these ways has been condemned on moral grounds by many, as displaying a profound disrespect for life;
(k) The distinction between “therapeutic” and “reproductive” cloning is a false distinction scientifically because both begin with the reproduction of a human being at the embryonic stage of life, one (1) destined for implantation in a womb, one (1) destined for destructive farming of its stem cells. Regardless of its ultimate destiny, all human embryos are simultaneously human beings;
(l) It will be nearly impossible to ban only attempts at “cloning-to-produce-children” if “cloning-for-biomedical-research” is allowed for the following reasons:
(i) Cloning would take place within the privacy of a doctor-patient relationship;
(ii) The implantation of embryos to begin a pregnancy is a simple procedure; and
(iii) Any government effort to prevent the implantation of an existing cloned embryo, or to prevent birth once implantation has occurred would raise substantial moral, legal and practical issues;
Based on the above findings, it is the purpose of this act to prohibit destructive human embryo research and the use of cloning technology to initiate the development of new human beings at the embryonic stage of life for any purpose.
SECTION 3. The following words and phrases shall have the meanings as defined in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
(a) “Human embryo” means a genetically complete living organism of the species Homo sapiens, from the single cell stage to eight weeks development, that is not located in a woman’s body.
(b) “Gamete” means a human sperm or unfertilized human ovum.
(c) “Destructive research” means medical procedures, scientific or laboratory research, or other kinds of investigation that kills or injures the subject of such research. This definition does not include in vitro fertilization and accompanying embryo transfer to a woman’s body, or any diagnostic procedures that may benefit the human embryo subject to such tests.
(d) “Human cloning” means human asexual reproduction, accomplished by introducing the genetic material from one or more human somatic cells into a fertilized or unfertilized oocyte whose nuclear material has been removed or inactivated, so as to produce an organism, at any stage of development with a human or predominantly human genetic constitution.
(e) “Somatic cell” means a cell having a complete set of chromosomes obtained from a living or deceased human body at any stage of development.
(f) “Fetus” means an organism of the species Homo sapiens from eight weeks development until complete expulsion or extraction from a woman’s body, or removal from an artificial womb or other similar environment designed to nurture the development of such organism.
SECTION 4. It shall be unlawful for any person or entity, public or private, to intentionally or knowingly:
(a) Conduct destructive research on a human embryo;
(b) Buy, sell, receive, or otherwise transfer a human embryo with the knowledge that such embryo will be subjected to destructive research; or
(c) Buy, sell, receive, or otherwise transfer gametes with the knowledge that a human embryo will be produced from such gametes to be used in destructive research.
SECTION 5. It shall be unlawful for any person or entity, public or private, to intentionally or knowingly:
(a) Perform or attempt to perform human cloning;
(b) Participate in an attempt to perform human cloning;
(c) Transfer or receive the product of human cloning for any purpose; or
(d) Transfer or receive, in whole or in part, any oocyte, embryo, fetus, or human somatic cell, for the purpose of human cloning.
SECTION 6. Nothing in this statute shall restrict areas of scientific research not specifically prohibited by this statute, including in vitro fertilization, the administration of fertility enhancing drugs, research in the use of nuclear transfer or other cloning techniques to produce molecules, DNA, tissues, organs, plants, or animals other than humans, or cells other than human embryos.
SECTION 7. (1) A person who violates any provision of this act shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than three (3) years, or by a fine of not more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) or double the value of the gross gain if such person received a pecuniary gain from such violation, or both. Sentences imposed for convictions of separate offenses under this act may run consecutively.
(2) Any violation of this act shall constitute unprofessional conduct pursuant to the laws regulating medical doctors, surgeons osteopathic doctors and medical researchers and shall result in permanent revocation of the violator’s license to practice the applicable medical profession.
(3) Any violation of this act may be the basis for denying an application, for denying an application for the renewal of, or revoking any license, permit, certificate, or any other form of permission required to practice or engage in a trade, occupation, or profession.
SECTION 8. The provisions of this act are declared to be severable, and if any provision, word, phrase, or clause of the act or the application thereof to any person, shall be held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this act.
SECTION 9. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.