Christian Legal Society

Christian Legal Society Asks the U.S. Senate to Act on an Historic Opportunity to Prevent Human Cloning

Date: 07/11/2002

July 11, 2002

WASHINGTON – This morning the President’s Council on Bioethics recommended passage of a ban on cloning to produce children and a four-year moratorium on human cloning for biomedical research, thereby repudiating the legislation being proposed by Senators Specter, Feinstein, Hatch, Daschle (S.2439) that would authorize this research that necessarily requires the creation and destruction of living human embryos for research. The Report offers a historic opportunity for the U.S. Senate to take action to at least pass a comprehensive four-year moratorium on human cloning with the support of the U.S. President. The House of Representatives has already passed an even stronger bill supported by the President that would permanently ban all forms of human cloning.

“We agree with the President’s Council that we have a short window of opportunity right now to prevent the creation of human life for dismemberment and to avoid the implantation and birth of human clones most likely to be severely disabled and genetically impaired,” said Samuel B. Casey, Executive Director of CLS. “Accordingly, we call on the U.S. Senate and our allies to put aside partisan rhetoric and disappointment and at least pass a four-year comprehensive moratorium before it is too late.”

“Christian Legal Society would have preferred a permanent comprehensive ban on human cloning. However, we are confident that over the next four years, the truth will prevail: adult stem cell research will prove embryonic stem cell research unnecessary and the facts about human cloning will further persuade the American public that all human cloning should be permanently banned.”

The Council’s report sets the stage for a reasoned discourse about human cloning by insisting upon non-Orwellian descriptive terms, such as “cloning for biomedical research,” rather than “therapeutic cloning” – therapeutic potentially for third parties, but certainly not for the cloned human subject. The Report also agrees that human embryos deserve special respect and raises concern about pressuring women to become egg factories. As a result, all Council members appear to support extensively regulating the biotechnological enterprise – a position CLS has long advocated.

Significantly, even the minority of Council members who opposed a four-year moratorium defended the Council’s review process and disputed the irresponsible claims of some that the Council was “stacked.” “If stacked, the Council’s result would have been unanimous support for the comprehensive ban CLS favors. The real significance of this vote is that a diverse group of scholars had the moral courage to recommend prohibiting human cloning for biomedical research at least for four years,” said Nathan Adams, CLS’ Chief Litigation Counsel.

The Council has acted. The House of Representatives has acted. The President and American public have expressed their opinion against human cloning. Now, the U.S. Senate has an obligation immediately to prevent irresponsible researchers and others from engaging in human cloning. The President and public must hold the Senate accountable and demand action now before an historic opportunity is lost forever. Casey said, “The failure to act now means human embryos will die and human clones will be born in suffering.”