Christian Legal Society

Christian Lawyers Applaud President and Senator Frist for Their Call to the Senate to Vote In Favor of the Brownback-Landrieu Bill (S. 1899) to Comprehensively Ban All Human Cloning

Date: 04/10/2002

April 10, 2002

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Christian Legal Society (CLS) will stand with Americans to Ban Cloning (www.cloninginformation.org) at a briefing this morning on Capitol Hill for Senate staff and credentialed media and at the White House this afternoon where President Bush will address 175 members of Congress, religious leaders and scientists urging the immediate passage of the bipartisan bill (S. 1899) sponsored by Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Mary Landrieu (D. LA), along with 27 other Senators to comprehensively ban all forms of human cloning.

Last summer, Congress approved (265-162) Reps. Dave Weldon, M.D. (R-FL) and Bart Stupak’s (D-MI) identical ban on creating cloned human embryos specifically for research or reproductive purposes (H.R. 2505).  The House defeated (249-178) a substitute amendment offered by Rep. Jim Greenwood (R-PA), which would have allowed cloning of living human embryos for destructive experimentation and sunset any restrictions on so-called “reproductive cloning” after ten years.  Christian Legal Society, the country’s largest national association of Christian lawyers and law students, worked for passage of that bill and now calls on the Senate’s leadership to stop delaying and hold a floor vote to pass the identical bill in the Senate for the reasons outlined in its attached white paper also available at www.clsnet.org.

“Christian Legal Society thanks and congratulates the President, Senator Frist and the all the other members of the Senate and the House who after studying the matter see that a comprehensive ban on all human cloning is the right step for America right now,” CLS Executive Director Sam Casey remarked. “This bipartisan effort is a critical next step toward acknowledging in our laws the special respect due the life of every living human embryo.  As we have recently written, at the very least, we should not so demean human beings by creating them just to destroy them in research experiments that are unnecessary, unethical, unauthorized and fail to adhere to the standard human subject experimentation rules the world has tried to abide by since the Nuremberg trials at the close of World War II.”   See Samuel B. Casey and Nathan A. Adams, Specially Respecting the Living Human Embryo by Adhering to Standard Human Subject Experimentation Rules, 2 Yale J. Health Pol’y, Law & Ethics 111 (2001).

S. 1899 faces determined opposition in the Senate from the biotech industry vying for commercial advantage, notwithstanding President Bush’s endorsement and its modest objectives, which do not limit in-vitro fertilization or prevent human embryonic stem cell research as permitted by President Bush last summer.  H.R. 1899 would merely bring the United States into line with 40 industrialized countries, including Russia and Germany, which have adopted the Council of Europe’s convention banning human embryo cloning.  Only the United Kingdom remains a strong advocate of the practice.

The only two doctors who are members of the United States Congress, Rep. Weldon, the chief sponsor of the comprehensive cloning ban that has already passed the House (H.R. 2505), and Senator Frist, who supports the comprehensive ban on human cloning in the Senate both note that the medical record lacks evidence of even a single successful animal model proving the medical safety or research utility of cloning living human embryos simply for the purpose of killing them in “human experiments” for research purposes.  Casey added:

“We think Drs. Weldon and Frist get it right when both point out there is no scientific basis for concluding that the newly created human embryo – no matter how they are created– is anything but human. Rather, President Bush’s support and the bi-partisan support for H.R. 2505 in the House and S. 1899 in the Senate reflects the correct moral intuition of legislators that the human embryo is a human subject deserving of the same protections that we afford every other human being against destructive human experimentation.  Otherwise, legislators should have no qualms about permitting the cloning of as many human embryos as possible for stem cell research and other purposes.”

Christian Legal Society, founded in 1961, is a national membership organization of nearly 3600 Christian attorneys, judges, law professors and law students, as well as supportive laypeople with members in all fifty states and more than 1100 cities, organized into more than 90 attorney chapters and 165 law student chapters throughout the United States.