Germany Wants EU to Ban All Human Cloning After Britain Allows Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 13, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Germany Wants EU to Ban All Human Cloning After Britain Allows Research

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 13, 2004

Berlin, Germany ( — On the heels of an announcement by the British government that scientists at a university there can clone human embryos specifically for the purpose of killing them for research, German leaders are asking the European Union to take a tough stand against the grisly practice.

Top German doctors and political leaders are calling for the EU to ban the clone and kill method and for the German government to issue a strong opinion condemning it.

On Wednesday, the British Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) gave researchers at Newcastle University in northern England the go-ahead for the controversial research, in which human embryos cloned for their stem cells, then killed.

"We can’t allow embryos to be harvested like raw materials," Jörg-Dietrich Hoppe, head of the German Medical Association, told reporters.

Frank Ulrich Montgomery, chairman of the Marburger Association of Doctors, agreed and told Deutsche Welle that the EU should implement a total human cloning ban similar to the law in Germany and France.

"The indivisibility of human rights are being eroded under the blanket of research freedom," Montgomery said.

According to the German Deutsche Welle news service, lawmakers from various parties appear to be united behind the call for an EU ban.

Wolfgang Wodarg of the ruling Social Democratic Party, and chairman of a bioethics panel in the German parliament, called the British decision a "catastrophe."

Meanwhile, the Green Party, which partners with the SDP to form the majority government, agrees that a total human cloning ban is necessary.

"It’s up the German politicians to work towards holding together the nations that have spoken out against cloning," Green Party legislator Christa Nickels said.

Conservative political parties in Germany also back a human cloning ban. The Christian Democratic and the Christian Social Union each criticized the British decision.

Only the neo-liberal Free Democrat Party supports the cloning decision.