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Singapore reduces cloning penalties

17 May 2004
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 258

The Health Ministry of Singapore has amended draft legislation to reduce the criminal sanctions proposed for cloning a human being. The proposed jail term for human reproductive cloning has been reduced from 10 years to five years, following complaints from national scientists.

Several other countries have already passed national legislation banning human cloning, and Singapore proposed to criminalise this activity in November last year. Then, its Bioethics Advisory Committee published draft guidelines on the issue, which proposed 10-year jail sentences and fines of up to 100,000 Singapore dollars for any scientists who attempted to clone humans. In addition, any scientists wanting to carry out research on human embryo stem cells would be required to obtain Health Ministry approval.

The penalties were laid out in the Regulation of Biomedical Research Act of 2003, which was expected to be approved earlier this year. The draft bill, which was put out for public consultation, received 319 responses, with the majority saying the bill was too broad and the penalties too severe. Now the Health Ministry has said it will proceed 'step-by-step, rather than trying to regulate everything together, and is beginning with what it sees as the most 'pressing' issue - human reproductive cloning.

Last week the ministry opened a new bill for public consultation, called the Human Cloning and Other Prohibited Practices Bill, and it has also pledged to consult with Singapore's Attorney General to 're-calibrate the penalties' attached. The new bill prohibits the placing of a cloned human embryo into a person or animal, the import or export of a cloned human embryo and any commercial trading of gametes or embryos. Later legislation will be introduced to regulate human embryo stem cell research.

Penalties for human cloning may be eased
The Straits Times |  11 May 2004
Singapore government halves planned jail term for human cloners
Yahoo Daily News |  11 May 2004
Singapore relaxes jail penalty for human cloning
The Star Online |  12 May 2004
3 September 2004 - by BioNews 
Singapore has passed a law banning human reproductive cloning, while allowing the practice of cloning human embryos for stem cell research purposes to continue. Anyone who breaches the provisions set in the Human Cloning and Other Prohibited Practices Act will face 10 years in prison for what has been called...
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