A new report from the President's Council on Bioethics calls for a ban on reproductive cloning—or "attempts to conceive a child by any means other than the union of egg and sperm." The report does not—as a July 2002 report did—recommend a moratorium on somatic cell nuclear transfer, also known as "therapeutic cloning" or "cloning for biomedical research." It would allow research on human embryos until somewhere "between 10 and 14 days after fertilization."

Released April 1, the report—"Reproduction and Responsibility: The Regulation of New Biotechnologies"—also calls for a ban on "chimeras." These are attempts to create embryos that combine human and animal DNA. It also bans buying and selling embryos. The document recommends federally funded studies of assisted reproductive technology (ART), such as in vitro fertilization. The council says this is "relatively unmonitored and unregulated in the U.S." and may cause "health and safety risks for women and children."

In a personal statement attached to the report, some council members insisted that the group still supports a "four-year moratorium on all cloning-for-biomedical-research." Some pro-life groups, however, expressed concern that the new report undermines efforts to ban human cloning.

"We are completely disappointed," said Pia de Solenni, director of life and women's issues for the Family Research Council (FRC). "[Council President Leon] Kass said in 2001 that you have to have a complete and comprehensive ban on cloning—that you can't outlaw only so-called reproductive cloning. And now we have this report which suggests you can separate the two."

Kass, however, insists that the council still recommends a four-year moratorium on cloning ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.