A new coalition of scientists, bioethicists, and religious leaders is calling for a complete ban on human cloning after a biotech firm in November announced it had cloned human embryos.
In defending its historic announcement, Advanced Cell Technology (ACT), a Massachusetts firm, said it will use cloned human embryos only for therapeutic research, not reproduction. The firm says cloning for reproduction should be banned because of "safety and ethical issues." None of ACT's clones survived beyond the six-cell stage.
Now opposition to human cloning comes even from outside the prolife community. "Our opposition to human cloning in no way diminishes our support for a woman's right to . …abortion services," Judy Norsigian, coauthor of Our Bodies, Ourselves, told Congress in June.
Lori Andrews of the Illinois Institute of Technology, Francis Fukuyama of Johns Hopkins University, Stuart Newman of the New York College of Medicine, and Brent Blackwelder of Friends of the Earth all oppose human cloning.
Bioethicist Nigel M. de S. Cameron, dean of the conservative Wilberforce Forum, said the cloning debate is not a rehash of the abortion debate.
"Plainly experimental use of the [human] embryo is always abuse," he said, "and must be stopped." Many cloning opponents are joining the new advocacy group, Americans to Ban Cloning, based in Alexandria, Virginia.
After ACT's announcement, top Christian leaders were sharply critical. "Human embryo-destructive experimentation is unconscionable and must no longer be permitted," said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
The 14,000-member Christian Medical Association also condemned the research. "Human clones are not merely, as some ...1
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