The state of Iowa is synonymous with farming, but if a dangerous bill passes the House, it could be cloned human embryo farms, not traditional agriculture, that the Hawkeyes will become known for. Yesterday, legislation that would repeal Iowa's current ban on all human cloning passed through one of the state's House committees.

The issue is reaching critical importance in the state, as the Senate narrowly voted to lift Iowa's human cloning ban last week. A vote by the full House is next. Supporters of the bill are using deceptive tactics, similar to the campaign in Missouri, to convince citizens that the bill would not allow human cloning but only permit SCNT (somatic cell nuclear transfer) to generate embryonic stem cells.

Unfortunately, what some voters and legislators may not understand through the fog of scientific jargon is that SCNT is human cloning. This fact shouldn't be lost on the University of Iowa, yet school officials are urging alumni to support the bill, writing, "Opponents of the bill are saying it will lead to human cloning. It [cloning] is unethical, immoral, and we will never support it." As the University well knows, the bill under consideration will not lead to human cloning, but instead will legally protect human cloning.

Some legislators have been convinced by lobbyists that the SCNT process directly creates stem cells. That's not true. Under SCNT an embryo is cloned. Period. If the embryo is intended for scientific experiments, that embryo is later destroyed for its stem cells.

SCNT is the same process used to create Dolly the cloned sheep; it's merely a matter of what's done with the resulting cloned embryo. Either supporters of the repeal are medically delusional or they are simply bluffing their way into the confidence of state leaders and voters.

Please take a minute to call your representatives at the Iowa State House, (515) 281-3221, and urge them to vote against House File 287.