Greenwood Releases Witness List
Oversight Panel to Focus on Issues Raised
Washington (March 23) – In the wake of recent announcements by some scientists determined to forge ahead with controversial efforts to clone a human being, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing on the issue on Wednesday, March 28. Chairman James Greenwood (R-PA) today released the witness list for his panel’s examination of the safety and ethical questions surrounding human cloning.
“What if they actually clone a human being? For years this possibility has been a topic for scientific research journals, Hollywood studios and sci-fi buffs,” Greenwood said today. “Now, several scientists are poised to take the fateful next step to actually produce a human clone. What if they succeed? What if they try and fail miserably? Could it have already happened in some underground laboratory?
“This Committee has a responsibility to ask these and other questions. At next week’s hearing we’ll focus on many of the safety and ethical questions surrounding human cloning. The witnesses we’ve assembled represent a broad cross-section of opinions and expertise on the issues, and I look forward to their testimony.”
Wednesday’s hearing will begin at noon in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Witnesses scheduled to testify include:
Dr. Panos Zavos, a fertility specialist, recently announced that within two years, he and Italian obstetrician Severino Antinori intend to clone a human being. Dr. Zavos is a former professor at the University of Kentucky.
Rael, the most controversial person invited to testify, is leader of the Raelian Movement, which claims to have as many as 55,000 members world-wide. He and his supporters have revealed plans to clone – at a secret laboratory in the United States – the dead child of parents who have given the group $500,000 to fund the project.
Dr. Brigitte Boisselier is a chemist and member of the Raelian movement. She is also a visiting professor at Hamilton College in New York. Dr. Boisselier is leading the Raelian’s cloning project .
Dr. Arthur L. Caplan is director of the Center of Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Caplan has been a vocal opponent of present efforts to clone a human being. He has also suggested the need for federal law to address human cloning in the United States.
Dr. Mark E. Westhusin is associate professor of veterinary medicine at Texas A&M University. He has overseen numerous attempts to clone animals.
Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch is professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a pioneer in cloning at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.
Also testifying at Wednesday’s hearing are:
-- Gregory Pence, Ph.D, advocate of cloning, author of Who’s Afraid of Cloning, and professor of philosophy, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL;
-- Mr. Randolfe H. Wicker, founder, Clone Rights United Front, Spokesman, Human Cloning Foundation, Front, New York, NY;
-- Michael Soules, M.D., president, American Society of Reproductive Medicine, Washington, DC ;
-- Thomas B. Okarma, Ph.D.,M.D., president and CEO, Geron Corporation, on behalf of: Biotechnology Industry Association;
-- Jaydee Hanson, assistant general secretary, The General Board of Church and Society, The United Methodist Church, Washington, D.C;
-- Dr. Kathryn C. Zoon, director , Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, MD;
-- Dr. Thomas Murray, National Bioethics Advisory Commission, Bethesda, MD;
-- Sharon Terry, M.A., vice president for consumers, Genetic Alliance; and,
-- Mr. Mark Donald Eibert, Esq., Law Offices of Mark Eibert, San Mateo, CA.
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