President's Council on Bioethics proposes moratorium on research cloning
"Cloning edict angers both sides," says a San Francisco Chronicle headline today. The President's Council on Bioethics yesterday recommended a total ban on reproductive human cloning, but only a four-year moratorium on so-called therapeutic cloning, or cloning embryos for research purposes.

"By permanently banning cloning-to-produce-children, this policy gives force to the strong ethical verdict against cloning-to-produce-children, unanimous in this Council (and in Congress) and widely supported by the American people," said the ten-person majority of the 17-member council. "And by enacting a four-year moratorium on the creation of cloned embryos, it establishes an additional safeguard not afforded by policies that would allow the production of cloned embryos to proceed without delay." (The full report, including an 11-page executive summary, is available at the council's website.)

A seven-member minority doesn't want the moratorium. "The research shows great promise, and its actual value can only be determined by allowing it to go forward now," they said. "Regardless of how much time we allow it, no amount of experimentation with animal models can provide the needed understanding of human diseases."

President Bush, however, doesn't want a moratorium either—he wants an all-out ban on all forms of human cloning. "His position is based on principle," House spokesman Scott McClellan told The Washington Times. "Any attempt to clone a human being is morally wrong." A White House statement called for the Senate to "take action this year to ban all human cloning. As the Council's majority recommendation makes clear, no law should be enacted this year that ...

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