The Arizona Senate passed a referendum that would ban human cloning in Arizona, despite opposition from lawmakers who said the bill is a waste of time because it addresses an imaginary problem.
SCR1044 passed in the Senate by a 19-9 vote on March 1. If passed by the House, it will be sent to the ballot so voters can decide whether to change the state Constitution to ban all scientific research in the field. Arizona laws already prohibit the use of state money for both reproductive and therapeutic cloning.
Sen. Chuck Gray, a Republican from Mesa who sponsored the resolution, said adding the one-sentence amendment to the Arizona Constitution would protect the sanctity of life.
“There’s talk of scientists – if you want to call them that – trying to join human DNA with the DNA of animals,” Gray said. “I don’t think people want to be going outside the normal procreation channels to produce humans. We have a perfectly good way to produce humans.”
Sen. Ron Gould, a Republican from Bullhead City, took a moment during the third read vote to say that he agrees with the ban, even though he thinks cloning himself would be useful.
“I’ve oftentimes thought how handy it would be to have a clone of myself,” Gould joked. “I could send the clone down here, and I could stay in Lake Havasu.”
But Sen. Paula Aboud, a Democrat from Tucson, voted against the referendum and said she doesn’t see any problem the ban would fix.
“This makes us look silly,” Aboud said. “This is a goofy idea to get goofy people out to vote on it.”
Sen. Ken Cheuvront, a Democrat from Phoenix, said the Legislature is already preparing too many referendums this year, and human cloning is not a concern that merits the time and energy of Arizona’s lawmakers.
“This is a big waste of time,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going to have human cloning for a very long time, if ever.”