United Nations Postpones Human Cloning Debate, May Adopt Pro-Ban Statement

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 19, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

United Nations Postpones Human Cloning Debate, May Adopt Pro-Ban Statement

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
November 19, 2004

New York, NY (LifeNews.com) — The United Nations on Friday essentially postponed a final decision on the issue of human cloning in favor of taking three months to iron out a last-minute declaration from Italy that would encourage the world to ban the grisly practice.

The United Nations has been debating a human cloning ban for three years with most nations favoring prohibiting all forms of cloning and other nations wanting to allow human cloning for research.

The U.S., Costa Rica and 60 other nations want to call a convention to pass a treaty that member nations can sign prohibiting all human cloning. However, opponents have joined with more ambivalent countries to force procedural delays that have made it difficult to pass a ban.

To mediate the dispute, Italy proposed adopting a resolution instead of a treaty. The Italian proposal encourages the 191 member nations "to prohibit any attempts to create human life through cloning processes and any research intended to achieve that aim."

Should the United Nations adopt the Italian proposal in February, Jeanne Head, a nurse and longtime United Nations lobbyist for the National Right to Life Committee, said it would "send a strong statement to the world that the UN community wants a ban on human cloning."

While the Italian proposal is a nonbinding resolution, it does not preclude a call for a convention to craft a treaty for nations to sign banning all human cloning. The Italian measure could set up a later vote on a treaty and give cloning opponents an additional tool to show that most countries want human cloning prohibited.

However, cloning research backers have a problem with the term "human life" as they don’t assign that status to human embryos created for their stem cells.

After Friday’s deliberations, Reuters, the Associated Press and other leading international news agencies are reporting that the United Nations rejected the U.S.-Costa Rica proposal to ban all forms of human cloning. However, the UN never voted on the proposal.

Head told LifeNews.com that those news reports were inaccurate.

According to Head, pro-life lobbyists have persuaded most nations that human cloning should not be allowed for research purposes.

Both Head and the Bush administration say they achieved a victory Friday because the United Nations did not back a statement supporting the use of human cloning for research.

State Department spokesman Adam Ereli told Reuters, "We are proud of our efforts to prevent human cloning. So the fact that there isn’t any action by the U.N. to endorse cloning is a moderate success."

Head indicated that the Belgian-led coalition of 20 nations, seeking to ban human cloning for reproduction but not for research, has never attracted more support beyond their initial bloc of countries.

In fact, Ambassador Bruno Stagno Ugarte of Costa Rica, said the U.S.-Costa Rica proposal had the backing of 60 nations and would have won an up or down vote if not for procedural delays opponents could have used to stop it from being enacted.