Parents of children with deadly and chronic diseases spoke out Thursday against a bill that would ban human cloning.
They say the proposed legislation contains language that would have a chilling effect on research and the development of new therapies.
Sherri Gunvalson has a son with a fatal form of muscular dystrophy. During a news conference at the State Office Building, she called the human cloning bill anti-science.
"The authors of this bill are trying to confuse people into thinking stem cell research, that can save so many lives, is human cloning. It is not," Gunvalson said. "If they succeed in passing this horrible bill, it will be another step in an effort to ban stem cell research in the misguided belief that somehow this ban is pro-life."
The parents say the proposed legislation contains language that could criminalize one form of human embryonic stem cell research called somatic cell nuclear transfer.
Ann Strader, a mother of twin boys with type 1 diabetes, said researchers have no intention of cloning humans with the technique.
"Therapeutic cloning will create patient-specific cells, not humans," Strader said. "I hope that our legislators will remember that this research is pro-life and will greatly increase the quality of life for my sons as well as thousands of other kids that live with diabetes."
The bill's author, Sen. Michelle Fischbach, R-Paynesville, has said that her bill is not aimed at shutting down legitimate stem cell research, only human cloning. The bill is backed by the group Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life.