Okla. enacts sex-selection, cloning bans

OKLAHOMA CITY (BP)--Oklahoma Democratic Gov. Brad Henry has signed into law bills banning sex-selection abortions and human cloning.

The sex-selection prohibition also requires doctors to report to the state the reasons women choose abortion and complications that occur as a result of the procedure, according to The Daily Oklahoman.

The anti-cloning measure prohibits both therapeutic and reproductive cloning, and according to bioethicist Wesley J. Smith, "is the first true human cloning ban to pass in a long time." Pro-lifers have pushed for passage of a true cloning ban at the federal level but have been unable to find enough support to ban therapeutic (or research) cloning, which involves cloning an embryo in order to harvest its stem cells. The extraction of stem cells from an embryo for research purposes destroys the days-old human being. Therapeutic cloning supporters sometimes call the procedure "somatic cell nuclear transfer," which simply is the scientific name for cloning.

"[I]t looks like Oklahoma has pushed back against brave new world," Smith wrote previously on his blog.

Both houses of the legislature passed the comprehensive cloning ban unanimously.

Mary Spaulding Balch, the National Right to Life Committee's director of state legislation, commended Oklahoma for its "courageous stand" on sex-selection abortions.

"It is unfortunate, even in this enlightened age of women, that many cultures here and abroad favor males over females," she said in a written statement. "All over the world, millions of females are missing due to sex selection abortions."

Balch described the new law on abortion reporting as "the most comprehensive reporting law in the nation."

"Hopefully the information gleaned from this reported information will help us determine some of the reasons women think they need to kill their babies so that we might address those needs and save lives," she said.

Henry signed the bills into law May 21.


Compiled by Tom Strode, Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, and Michael Foust, assistant editor of Baptist Press.

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