United Nations Approves Call for Ban on All Human Cloning

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 8, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 8, 2005

New York, NY (LifeNews.com) — After four years of debate on the issue of human cloning, the United Nations has finally put its stamp of approval on a consensus document addressing the thorny issue. Member nations backed a statement Tuesday calling on countries around the globe to ban all forms of human cloning — both for research and reproductive purposes.

The international body of 191 nations approved the statement on a 84 to 34 vote. Some 37 countries, mostly Muslim nations, abstained from taking a position.

The document says nations should "prohibit all forms of human cloning inasmuch as they are incompatible with human dignity and the protection of human life."

The measure also asks nations to approve language preventing the exploitation of women. Delegates from developing countries feared that women from poor countries would be targeted for the large number of women’s eggs that would be needed to support these “egg farms.”

The procedure by which eggs are extracted from these vulnerable women is extremely painful and dangerous to their lives and health.

The United States, Costa Rica, the Vatican and other pro-life nations led a fight over the last four years to get the UN to adopt a treaty banning all human cloning.

Their efforts were opposed by Belgium, Japan and other European and Asian nations that want a ban only on reproductive human cloning. They want to be able to allow scientists in their countries to use human cloning to produce human embryos to destroy for their stem cells.

When a group of Islamic nation’s balked at the impasse, Italy and Honduras proposed a statement calling on a human cloning ban.

While not as strong as a treaty, pro-life groups and the Bush administration say the statement is a huge victory against human cloning.

"The declaration is an important and significant step toward recognizing the dignity of all members of our human family and protecting all human life," National Right to Life UN lobbyist Jeanne Head explained. “We look to the U.S. Congress now to put an end to the cloning and killing of human embryos."

Costa Rican Ambassador Bruno Stagno Ugarte hailed the vote as a "a historic step" recognizing "that therapeutic cloning involves the creation of human life for the purpose of destroying it," according to a Reuters report.

Still some nations said they would reject the call for a total ban and allow researchers to continue cloning and killing human embryos.

Bernard Siegel, executive director of the Genetics Policy Institute, which helped lobby against the ban treaty and statement, said "therapeutic cloning research will not be impeded in the least."