Weissman-George colloquy on status of embryo

Date: 04/26/2002

Despite cloning advocates’ efforts to convince the American people and their elected representatives in the Senate that cloning isn’t cloning, the fact remains that cloning – referred to by advocates as Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer, or SCNT – creates a new human embryo. There is no doubt that in its early stages, the human embryo is a DISTINCT HUMAN BEING. This is true of the blastocyst stage, ie, that stage at which, in “therapeutic” cloning, stem cells are extracted from the cloned human embryo and the embryo is killed.

At the second meeting of the President’s Council on Bioethics, on February 13, 2002, a colloquy occurred between Council member, Robert P. George, and Dr. Irving L. Weissman, Chairman of the National Academy of Sciences panel that recently reported on human cloning. (For the record , Dr. Weissman is a leading adult stem cell researcher, and also supports human embryonic stem cell research.)

Professor George asked Dr. Weissman whether the blastocyst stage was a stage in the life of a determinate human organism. Dr. Weissman agreed that it was.

The colloquy then continued –

Prof. George: “So looked at back the other way, Dr. Kass [, the chairman of the Council,] is now in an adult stage, as the rest of us around the table are. At an earlier point in his existence he was in adolescent stage, and before that in an infant stage…, before that in a fetal stage….Would it be fair to say that before that, Dr. Kass was in a blastocyst stage?”

Dr. Weissman: “For sure.”

In other words, human life IS human life, and “therapeutic” cloning creates a new human for the sole purpose of destroying it in research.