The Great Brain Drain v. American Moral Leadership

Date: 03/22/2002

Embryo farm advocates in the bio-industrial complex have constantly played on the fears of the American people. Now they claim that, whatever happens here, all over the world everybody will be cloning human embryos. We will lose the scientists and the business, and our comprehensive cloning ban will actually make no difference.

This claim misses several vital points.

1. For one thing, the President’s decision to fund work on certain embryo stemcell lines means that work in this field will go on, now with federal support. And the boiling field of “adult” stemcell research will go from strength to strength.

2. In harmony with Brownback-Landrieu, and in support of the President’s consistently expressed desire for an ethical policy basis for biotechnology, the United States has called for a global, comprehensive ban on human cloning through a United Nations treaty.

3. In other countries on every continent the same debate is in progress. In Germany, which for reasons of history has the sharpest conscience in the world, human embryo cloning is not permitted. In France, legislation is in progress that would ban it, and is expected to pass. In Norway the same is true. In Australia, several states and the federal government are taking clear policy stands against this unethical practice.

4. That is the context for American moral leadership. As the one superpower, as the home of biotechnology, America is being called on to set an example. Here as in so many other areas, it is our privilege and our responsibility to do the right thing. And as we do it, men and women of conscience around the world will follow our leadership and also find new respect for an America that, as so often in the past, has put principle ahead of profit and asserted the primacy of human dignity.