President Bush on Cloning: Part 1

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President Bush on Cloning: Part 1

JCWillke   |   July 10, 2002

Today, let’s listen to an important speech by President Bush, one that our liberal press has largely ignored.  Here’s what he said:

We live in a time of tremendous medical progress.  A little more than a year ago, scientists first cracked the human genetic code–one of the most important advances in scientific history.  Already, scientists are developing new diagnostic tools so that each of us can know our risk of disease and act to prevent it.

One day soon, precise therapies will be custom-made for our own genetic makeup.  We’re on the threshold of historic breakthroughs against AIDS and Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and Parkinson’s–and that’s incredibly positive.

Our age may be known to history as the age of genetic medicine, a time when many of the most feared illnesses were overcome.  But our age must also be defined by the care, restraint and responsibility with which we take up these new scientific powers.

Advances in biomedical technology must never come at the expense of human conscience.  As we seek what is possible, we must always ask what is right, and we must not forget that even the most noble ends do not justify any means.

Science has set before us decisions of immense consequence.  We can pursue medical research with a clear sense of moral purpose or we can travel without an ethical compass into a world that we could live to regret.  Science now presses forward the issue of human cloning.  How we answer the question of human cloning will place us on one path or the other.

Human cloning is the laboratory production of individuals who are genetically identical to another human being.  Cloning is achieved by putting the genetic material from a donor into a woman’s egg which has had its nucleus removed.  As a result, the new or cloned embryo is an identical copy of only the donor.  Human cloning has moved from science fiction into science.

One biotech company has already begun producing embryonic human clones for research purposes.  Chinese scientists have derived stem cells from cloned embryos created by combining human DNA and rabbit eggs. Others have announced plans to produce cloned children, despite the fact that laboratory cloning of animals has led to spontaneous abortions and terrible, terrible abnormalities.

Human cloning is deeply troubling to me, and to most Americans.  Life is a creation, not a commodity.  Our children are gifts to be loved and protected, not products to be designed and manufactured.  Allowing cloning would be taking a significant step toward a society in which human beings are grown for spare body parts and children are engineered to custom specifications and that’s not acceptable!

I’ll continue with President Bush’s speech over the next two days.

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