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US to bring anti-cloning law

US congressmen will re-introduce legislation aimed at banning human cloning. The attempt coincides with the highly controversial claim by the Raelian sect that they had arranged the successful birth of two cloned babies, both outside the US.

india Updated: Jan 10, 2003 18:00 IST

A group of US congressmen will re-introduce legislation on Wednesday aimed at banning human cloning, a spokesman for the group's leader has said.

Republican Representative Dave Weldon of Florida, author of the draft legislation and also a physician, introduced the bill during the last session of Congress, but it died when the out-going Democrat-controlled Senate could not fit it on its calendar.

The newly elected legislature, both houses of which are controlled by the Republicans, US President George W Bush's party, began work on Tuesday.

Weldon's new attempt coincides with the highly controversial and publicised claim by a sect called the Raelians, financial backer of a Las Vegas-based firm called Clonaid, that they had arranged the successful birth of two cloned babies, both outside the US.

The Raelians and Clonaid have been highly secretive about the births, the parents and their whereabouts, opening themselves to accusations of a hoax.

They stopped independent DNA testing which was supposed to have authenticated the cloning after a Florida lawyer successfully petitioned a family court to put the allegedly cloned infants under court protection.

"Any attempt at human cloning, for whatever purpose, is utterly irresponsible," Weldon said in a statement distributed to the press. "Human cloning is baby manufacture, and the American people oppose it.

"Regardless of whether the Raelians have actually produced a cloned baby, it is certain that some are rushing to perform human cloning, both for research and reproductive purposes," said the statement.

First Published: Jan 10, 2003 17:55 IST