Pro-Life Groups Outraged at Human Cloning License for Dolly Scientist

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 9, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Groups Outraged at Human Cloning License for Dolly Scientist Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 9, 2005

London, England ( — News that the scientist who cloned Dolly the sheep would be given a license by the British government to begin cloning human embryos to be destroyed for research has pro-life groups alarmed.

A doctor who heads the Christian Medical Association, a national group of pro-life physicians, condemned professor Ian Wilmut’s plan to clone human beings for medical research.

"It’s dressing a wolf in sheep’s clothing to claim that you’re somehow helping humanity when in fact you’re killing living human beings," noted David Stevens, M.D., Executive Director of the 17,000-member group.

"So-called ‘therapeutic cloning’ is hardly therapeutic for the living human subjects destroyed in the process," Dr. Stevens said.

Julia Millington of the London-based ProLife Alliance told the Associated Press, "Are we supposed to be appeased by Professor Wilmut’s declarations that the human embryos will be destroyed after experimentation and that his team has no intention of producing cloned babies?"

"All human cloning is intrinsically wrong and should be outlawed," Millington added. "However, the creation of cloned human embryos destined for experimentation and subsequent destruction is particularly abhorrent."

Wilmut, of the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh and a team from King’s College, London, plans to clone embryos to study motor neurone disease. They received permission from the British the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority.
The decision is the second occasion on which the British agency has allowed researchers to engage in human cloning. Last August the HFEA gave permission to a team of scientists from the University of Newcastle to use human cloning to destroy human embryos for their stem cells for research.

Dolly was finally created after 300 failed attempts, resulting in miscarriages and malformed offspring. Ultimately, the "successful" result, Dolly, aged too rapidly and had to be euthanized.
Wilmut plans to use the same technique, cell nuclear replacement, that he used to create Dolly and says his team will not engage in reproductive human cloning.

CMA Associate Executive Director Gene Rudd, MD, responds that "no scientist can guarantee that a cloned human embryo will not eventually be implanted to be born. A cloned human embryo would look exactly like a normally conceived human embryo, and the technology to implant that human embryo is already commonplace."

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