Minnesota Pro-Life Group Asks University of Minnesota to Stop Human Cloning

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 2, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Minnesota Pro-Life Group Asks University of Minnesota to Stop Human Cloning

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
June 2
, 2009

St. Paul, MN (LifeNews.com) — A Minnesota pro-life group is calling on officials at the University of Minnesota to stop pursuing human cloning experiments. Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life says the college is violating state law by conducting research involving the destruction of human embryos, days-old unborn children.

MCCL’s comments come in response to a letter in which the university accuses the pro-life group of not telling the truth about its human cloning research.

The controversy began when MCCL applauded Gov. Tim Pawlenty for signing a bill into law that would ban taxpayer funding of the grisly practice. It accused the University of Minnesota’s Stem Cell Institute of pursuing human cloning.

Wendy Burt, Academic Health Center director of public and community affairs for the college, responded in a letter saying MCCL’s contention was “absolutely false."

But Scott Fischbach, the executive director of the group, tells LifeNews.com that its contention is accurate.

He points to comments from Dr. Frank Cerra, the University’s senior vice president for health sciences, who wrote in a April 21, 2009 letter to Sen. Sandy Pappas that the bill to ban taxpayer funding of human cloning would affect "important and ongoing University of Minnesota research" — implying human cloning is currently occurring at the university.

Meanwhile, Cerra testified in a Higher Education Conference Committee meeting on May 4, 2009, that “therapeutic cloning … is really at the core of much of the work we do.”

Fischbach told LifeNews.com, “MCCL’s statements regarding the University of Minnesota’s pursuit of human cloning and its embryo-destructive research have always been accurate."

“The University’s letter only serves to highlight its own dishonest portrayal of its efforts to clone human beings," he added, saying that Cerra’s comments make it so the only conclusion is that the Stem Cell Institute is engaged in human cloning.

In her letter, Burt attempts to disprove MCCL’s statements by arguing that “the University of Minnesota is opposed to reproductive cloning."

Fischbach says the letter carefully avoids any mention of so-called therapeutic cloning or the fact that both therapeutic and reproductive cloning use the same technique—somatic cell nuclear transfer, which the National Institutes of Health has called “the scientific term for cloning" to produce a unique human being.

MCCL believes the University is in violation of the state’s Human Conceptus law, which prohibits “the use of a living human conceptus for any type of scientific, laboratory research or other experimentation except to protect the life or health of the conceptus."

Fischbach said he is calling on the University of Minnesota to stop all human cloning, adding that, “As a publicly-funded higher education institution, the University must abide by the laws of our state."

Related web sites:
Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life – https://www.mccl.org

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