by Steven Ertelt
October 13, 2004
New York, NY (LifeNews.com) — The United Nations is preparing for a vote on a human cloning ban that observers say is too close to call. Countries across the world are debating competing resolutions with vastly different approaches to calling a convention to urge member nations to ban human cloning. The vote is expected to take place late next week.
The United States and Costa Rica, along with 60 other nations, are leading efforts to prohibit all forms of human cloning.
Meanwhile, Belgium, Japan and several European nations have a former a 20-member coalition of countries seeking to prohibit cloning for reproductive purposes but to allow human cloning for use in scientific research.
The division caused an impasse last year and an organized group of Islamic nations pushed for a two year wait on any ban so it could be studied further.
The U.N. General Assembly vote was close with 80 countries voting favor of the delay, 79 voting against it and 15 abstaining.
The Bush administration and its anti-cloning allies were eventually able to persuade other countries to reduce the delay to one year.
Last Thursday, UN officials indicated the vote on the anti-cloning convention would take place in the General Assembly on October 21 and 22.
Next week’s vote may hinge on what the 57 Islamic nations decide to do.
Douglas A. Sylva of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, a pro-life group that lobbies the UN, told The Scientist magazine that Muslim nations don’t always act in a monolithic fashion. He said there is a distinction between Muslim countries in general and Arab Muslim countries.
"There’s no consensus in the Muslim world about this and the great uncertainty seems to lie with the Arab states," Sylva told The Scientist. "The Arab nations hold the wild card."
Sylva said he would be surprised if enough votes materialized for the Belgian proposal. He said the decision likely would be between further delay or approving the U.S.-Costa Rica plan.
Last month, President Bush asked the UN to approve the total human cloning ban.
"Because we believe in human dignity, we should take seriously the protection life from exploitation under any pretext," the president explained. "No human life should ever be produced or destroyed for the benefit of another."