In a recent Washington Post article, conservative columnist Robert Novak asked America the question: “New Jersey, the Cloning State?” This question and the column that followed focused on a bill I sponsored to promote embryonic stem cell research in New Jersey–a bill which expressly prohibits and criminalizes human cloning. This bill was recently approved by the State Senate and now awaits approval in the Assembly. Despite its explicit ban on human cloning, misconceptions exist about this legislation in New Jersey and apparently in other parts of the country.
As much as I would like to credit New Jersey with taking the national lead on both advancing the field of embryonic stem cell research and banning human cloning, we are not the first to do either. California was the first state to pass legislation like the New Jersey stem cell bill, although the California bill did not contain a provision against human cloning. California passed a separate law specifically banning human cloning. In New Jersey, we can only take credit for being the first state to combine these two important issues into one piece of legislation.