German Chancellor Won’t Push Human Cloning in Upcoming Speech

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 20, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

German Chancellor Won’t Push Human Cloning in Upcoming Speech Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 20, 2005

Berlin, Germany ( — A German newspaper reported on Friday that German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder plans to promote human cloning for research at a graduation ceremony early next month. However, administration officials say that’s not the case.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper reported Friday that Schröder wants to lower limits on the controversial research in Germany.

The newspaper said he would do so after an announcement Thursday that South Korean scientists had obtained embryonic stem cells from cloned humans and that British researchers had successfully cloned a human being.

The newspaper contends he will push for the change during a June 14 graduation speech at the University of Göttingen, where he will receive an honorary doctorate.

But government spokesman Bela Anda said that was not going to happen.

Anda said a policy shift would not be announced and said the German leader would reiterate his position that ethical considerations should be considered when discussing those kinds of research.

However, he also indicated Schröder may push to re-examine the law to see if it is still warranted.

"Germany is ready to move on this sensitive subject," Bela Anda said during a press conference. "In two years, the legal framework will have to be re-examined," he added.

Last year, top German doctors and political leaders called for the EU to ban the clone and kill method and for the German government to issue a strong opinion condemning it.

"We can’t allow embryos to be harvested like raw materials," J?rg-Dietrich Hoppe, head of the German Medical Association, told reporters.

Frank Ulrich Montgomery, chairman of the Marburger Association of Doctors, agreed and told Deutsche Welle that the EU should implement a total human cloning ban similar to the law in Germany and France.

"The indivisibility of human rights are being eroded under the blanket of research freedom," Montgomery said.