United Nations Continues Human Cloning Ban Debate as Lobbying Intensifies

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 22, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

United Nations Continues Human Cloning Ban Debate as Lobbying Intensifies

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
October 22, 2004

New York, NY (LifeNews.com) — Both sides in the international debate over human cloning are working furiously to line up supporters in favor of two competing proposals. One, backed by the United States and Costa Rica, bans all forms of human cloning while the other, supported by Belgium and other European nations, allows human cloning for research.

As nations debated yesterday, diplomats were busy lobbying undecided countries.

Despite a law banning both types of human cloning, France, which kept quiet in last year’s debates, spoke up yesterday in favor of the Belgian proposal.

In addition, Alfred Dube, the ambassador of Botswana, said a group of 14 African nations, members of the South African Development Community (SADC) will also back the Belgian measure. The SADC did not take a unified position last year when member nations decided to postpone the vote for another year.

However, pro-life lobbyists are securing support for the U.S.-Costa Rica plan that calls for a convention to draft a treaty banning human cloning for both reproduction and research.

Dr. David Prentice, an Indiana State University scientist who is a fellow with the Family Research Council, met yesterday with representatives of Slovakia, Nigeria, Kenya, Norway, Ethiopia, Philippines and Uganda.

Prentice said those nations joined a 61-member alliance backing the human cloning ban.

"This is a crucial issue," says Dr. Prentice, "Will we follow a path that allows creation of human life for experiments, creating a caste system of lesser humans for scientific sacrifice? Or will we value every human life, especially the most vulnerable?"

Some members of the United Nations, especially the Muslim countries that pushed forward a vote delay last year, are hoping to postpone the vote yet again until after the U.S. presidential elections.

Should John Kerry, who favors human cloning, be elected, U.S. policy in opposition to all human cloning would be scrapped in favor of cloning and killing human embryos for research.

A Kerry win could tip the balance in favor of the Belgian proposal.