MADISON, Wis. – Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed legislation Thursday banning human cloning, saying it would criminalize research that could one day cure ailments such as Parkinson's disease (search).
Doyle, a Democrat, said the potential medical benefits of stem cell research (search) were more important than concerns over "cells in a dish."
"Respect for human life means you don't your turn back on cures that can save human lives," said Doyle, whose mother suffers from Parkinson's.
Republican state Sen. Joe Leibham (search), who authored the legislation, insisted the ban was meant to set an ethical standard for research that would prohibit the creation of an embryo to be destroyed for research.
"I don't think we as a government should be endorsing the creation of a human life and then the destruction of a human life for the hopeful potential that it may provide medical benefit for someone down the road," Leibham said.
The bill would have banned reproductive cloning (search), the creation of babies using existing human cells, as well as so-called therapeutic cloning (search), in which embryos are created by injecting human eggs with a living person's cell to grow other cells.
Six states ban both procedures, while another eight have restrictions on reproductive cloning, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (search).
Earlier this year, the University of Wisconsin at Madison (search) landed a four-year, $16 million contract from the federal government to run the nation's first embryonic stem cell bank, created to make the cells more readily available to researchers.
Doyle also included money in his last budget to create a stem cell research center on campus.
It would take a two-thirds vote in each house of the Legislature to override the governor's veto.