UN Cloning Ban May Go Nowhere Because of Differences

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 8, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

UN Cloning Ban May Go Nowhere Because of Differences

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
October 8, 2003

New York, NY (LifeNews.com) — Two sets of countries are competing to gain UN approval of a ban on human cloning. One group led by Costa Rica, and supported by the United States, favors a ban on all forms of human cloning while another group of mostly European nations backs a ban that allows human embryos to be cloned and killed for scientific research.

Both sides acknowledge their differences may not be able to be resolved and the impasse could leave the UN without a formal resolution opposing human cloning.

Ann Corkery, a diplomat representing the United States, argued a treaty allowing experimental cloning "would essentially authorize the creation of a human embryo for the purpose of killing it to extract stem cells, thus elevating the value of research and experimentation above that of a human life."

More than 40 nations are backing a total ban on human cloning sponsored by Costa Rica. It enjoys the backing of the Bush administration and pro-life organizations because it bans human cloning for both reproductive and research purposes.

"The cloning of human embryos to produce stem cells for potential therapeutic use has not only failed to demonstrate any verifiable scientific promise, it also raises serious ethical questions," Archbishop Celestino Migliore, a Vatican UN representative told a committee that has taken up the competing proposals.

Migliore said the Vatican and the countries backing a complete cloning ban, favor the use of adult stem cells as they are more ethical and have been more effective in research thus far.

Another group of 14 countries, that includes several European nations, Japan, Brazil and South Africa, want a ban only on reproductive human cloning.

The legal committee of the UN General Assembly will decide the next steps for the cloning resolutions, but no timetable has been set.

Meanwhile, a group of scientists, doctors and legal experts sent a letter to UN on Wednesday. The letter, sent to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, asks the General Assembly to request from the International Court of Justice an advisory opinion on human cloning.

"The World Court is the ultimate authority on international law, and an opinion from the court would bring a very strong legal and moral force to bear against would-be cloners," Bernard Siegel or Florida, who organized the initiative, told Reuters.

Siegel sued Cloneaid, a company affiliated with the Raelian cult, after it claims to have produced several cloned babies. No proof was ever obtained and scientists doubted the veracity of the claims.

Two years ago, France and Germany put forward a UN request to ban human cloning.

Related web sites:
Vatican UN statement against human cloning –