President Bush on Cloning: Part 2

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President Bush on Cloning: Part 2

JCWillke   |   July 11, 2002

Today, let me continue with President Bush’s landmark speech on human cloning:

In the current debate over human cloning, two terms are being used:  reproductive cloning and research cloning.  Reproductive cloning involves creating a cloned embryo and implanting it into a woman with the goal of creating a child.  Fortunately, nearly every American agrees that this practice should be banned.  Research cloning, on the other hand, involves the creation of cloned human embryos which are then destroyed to derive stem cells.

I believe all human cloning is wrong, and both forms of cloning ought to be banned for the following reasons.  First, anything other than a total ban on human cloning would be unethical.  Research cloning would contradict the most fundamental principle of medical ethics: that no human life should be exploited or extinguished for the benefit of another.

Yet, a law permitting research cloning, while forbidding the birth of a cloned child, would require the destruction of nascent human life.  Secondly, anything other than a total ban on human cloning would be virtually impossible to enforce.  Cloned human embryos created for research would be widely available in laboratories and embryo farms.  Once cloned embryos were available, implantation would take place.  Even the tightest regulations and strict policing would not prevent or detect the birth of cloned babies.

Third, the benefits of research cloning are highly speculative.  Advocates of research cloning argue that stem cells obtained from cloned embryos would be injected into a genetically identical individual without risk of tissue rejection.  But there is evidence, based o animal studies, that cells derived from cloned embryos may indeed be rejected.

Yet, even if research cloning were medically effective, every person who wanted to benefit would need an embryonic clone of his or her own to provide the designer tissues.  This would create a massive national market for eggs and egg donors, and exploitation of women’s bodies that we cannot and must not allow.

I stand firm in my opposition to human cloning and, at the same time, we will pursue other promising and ethical ways to relieve suffering through biotechnology.  This year, for the first time, federal dollars will go toward supporting human embryonic stem cell research, consistent with the ethical guidelines I announced last August.

Let me finish Bush’s speech tomorrow.

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