The President's Council on Bioethics recommended a complete ban on human cloning for reproduction but, in a 10-7 split, only a four-year moratorium on cloning for research purposes. Conservatives are disappointed by the July decision.
"The recommended moratorium is only a stopgap measure and does not guarantee that human embryos created by cloning will be protected," said Carrie Gordon Earll, bioethics analyst for Focus on the Family.
"It is regrettable that the council could not support the view that human cloning involves the creation and destruction of innocent human life," says Ken Connor, president of the Family Research Council.
Bioethicist Nigel M. de S. Cameron of the Wilberforce Forum takes a more optimistic view. He told Christianity Today that the report establishes the panel's credibility as not being a tool of the political right.
"The glass is certainly half full," Cameron said.
"I'm very positive about the report, and hope that Congress moves immediately at least to pass a four-year moratorium on both forms of cloning."
In January President Bush named 18 members from various fields to the advisory panel. A White House statement calls on the Senate to "take action this year to ban all human cloning." The House passed a complete ban last year.
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News coverage includes:
Cloning edict angers both sides—San Francisco Chronicle (July 12, 2002)
Temporary ban advised for cloning of humans—The Washington Times (July 12, 2002)
Bush panel has 2 views on embryonic cloning—The Washington Post (July 11, 2002)
Panel recommends a moratorium on cloning research—The New York Times (July 10, 2001)
A White House statement to the report called for 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 authorizes any human cloning."
Concerned Women for America argues that "this decision leaves the American people vulnerable; a moratorium on a dangerous act is not enough," she said.
Family Research Council president Ken Connor said: "In an environment where that which is not prohibited is permitted, a temporary moratorium on human cloning is better than no ban at all. However … in the final analysis, it's lamentable that a majority of this commission, with all of its intellectual horsepower, was unable to distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil."
Carrie Gordon Earll, bioethics analyst for Focus on the Family said: "The recommended moratorium is only a stopgap measure and does not guarantee that human embryos created by cloning will be protected. … Hopefully, this report will serve as a speed bump to slow down the apparent rush to 'clone and kill' human embryos for their stem cells."
A Christianity Todayeditorial supported Bush's stem cell decision last year and gave "three cheers" to his choice of advisors for the Council on Bioethics: Leo Kass. In June, Nigel M. de S. Cameron interviewed Kass in CT.
Christianity Today recommended against human cloning in a 1997 editorial, "Stop Cloning Around."
ReligiousTolerance.org offers great resources on the ethical aspects of human cloning
See our October cover story, "A Matter of Life and Death: Why shouldn't we use our embryos and genes to make our lives better? The world awaits a Christian answer."
Previous Christianity Today coverage of the cloning debate includes:
Goodbye, DollyWe need nothing less than a total ban on human cloning. (May 15, 2002)
Weblog: 'All Human Cloning Is Wrong,' Says BushPublic is 4-to-1 against all human cloning, but Senate is evenly split on comprehensive ban. (April 11, 2002)
Weblog: The Prolife PushIt's 2002, time to ban cloning. (January 15, 2002)
New Coalition Rallies Against Human CloningAfter Advanced Cell Technology announcement, sharp criticism comes from all sides. (December 20, 2001)
Books & Culture Corner: "Daddy, What Is the Soul?"Does the church have an answer? (December 10, 2001)
Books & Culture Corner: 'We Now Know'The boast of imperial science. (December 3, 2001)
Opinion Roundup: 'Only Cellular Life'?Christians, leaders, and bioethics watchdogs react to the announcement that human embryos have been cloned. (November 29, 2001)
Weblog: Human Cloning's 'Success'Human embryos cloned for 1st time. (November 26, 2001)
Books & Culture Corner: "24 Cow Clones, All Normal" … Oh yes, and a few cloned human embryos that died. (November 26, 2001)
The New TyrannyBiotechnology threatens to turn humanity into raw material. (Oct. 5, 2001)
Manipulating the Linguistic CodeReligious language falling into the hands of scientists can be a fearful thing. (Oct. 4, 2001)
Times FiftyCan a clone be an individual? A short story. (Oct. 2, 2001)
Wanna Buy a Bioethicist?Some corporations have discovered that bioethics makes good public relations. (Sep. 28, 2001)
A Matter of Life and DeathWhy shouldn't we use our embryos and genes to make our lives better? The world awaits a Christian answer. (Sep. 28, 2001)
House Backs Human Cloning BanScientists say they'll go ahead anyway. (August 27, 2001)
Embryos Split ProlifersBush decision pleases some, keeps door open for disputed research. (August 27, 2001)
Two CheersPresident Bush's stem-cell decision is better than the fatal cure many sought. (August 10, 2001)
House of Lords Legalizes Human Embryo CloningReligious leaders' protests go unheeded by lawmakers. (Feb. 2, 2001)
Britain Debates Cloning of Human EmbryosScientists want steady stream of stem cells for "therapeutic" purposes. (Nov. 22, 2000)
Editorial: The Biotech Temptation (July 12, 1999)
Stop Cloning Around (April 27, 1997)
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