GERMANY SEEKS TO "REGULATE" THERAPEUTIC CLONING, NOT TO BAN IT

Autor: Douglas A. Sylva Fuente: C-FAM (Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute)

Dear Colleague,

For months, UN observers have wondered how the German government would act at the resumption of the human cloning debate at UN headquarters. Now we know: their current proposal is even worse than last years'. Now they seek to calm fears about the imminent "brave new world" of experimental human cloning and human embryo arms by claiming that these experiments can be
successfully "regulated," rather than banned. A prominent German politician does not believe his own government. Nor should you.

Spread the word.

Yours sincerely,

Douglas Sylva
Vice President


Action Item: The Executive Summary of the UNICEF White Paper has been posted on the C-FAM website (www.c-fam.org). Please download it and get it
in as many hands as possible.

FRIDAY FAX

September 26, 2003
Volume 6, Number 40

Germany Seeks to "Regulate" Therapeutic Cloning, Not to Ban It

On the eve of renewed debate on human cloning at UN headquarters, the German government has announced that it will continue to push for only a partial ban on human cloning, despite its own parliament's call for the government to work with the United States and other countries that seek a ban on all forms of human cloning.

In an interview this week with the German-based Catholic News Agency (KNA), Kerstin Mueller, Foreign Office State Minister, signaled her government's intention to seek an international ban on reproductive cloning, while merely to "regulate" therapeutic cloning, the type of cloning in which human embryos are created in order to be used and destroyed in medical research. In this effort, Mueller said the German government will "build a bridge to countries that already perform research in the field of therapeutic cloning," such as the United Kingdom, China, Israel and Singapore.

Mueller claims that the German government would like a comprehensive ban, but practical political considerations require
compromise. "What good will a [comprehensive] convention be that perhaps finds a small majority, but is not supported by states that perform cloning research?" Mueller said.

Mueller also criticized the efforts of the United States at the UN, saying "We have tried to win support from the US, too, for our
approach that wants to build bridges at the UN level. Up to now this has not been successful, regrettably. Personally I find it inconsistent, after all, that Washington on the one hand pursues an all-or-nothing strategy at the international level, but on the other hand has not strict national ban. In Germany the legal situation is clear."

Last February, the German government's own position at the UN was questioned by an overwhelming majority of the German parliament. In a parliamentary motion supported by all three of the prominent German political parties, including the governing Social Democrats, the parliament wondered why the German government would work towards an international convention on cloning that was much weaker than its own strict laws protecting human embryos from all forms of scientific research. The motion stated that any form of human cloning, regardless of its goal, constituted an assault on human dignity.

Mueller's most recent statements on cloning were immediately challenged by an influential member of parliament, who disagrees with the government's position on both practical and ethical grounds. Hubert Hueppe, a Christian Democrat and the vice chairman of the parliamentary study committee on bioethics, responded to Mueller by saying that "regulation" of therapeutic cloning will have no practical outcome, since the countries that have already approved of this form of experimentation on humans will not accept any substantive limitations on the procedure. Also, Hueppe emphasized that, since the parliament has already established that all cloning runs counter to human dignity, no amount of regulation will change the fact that cloning humans for medical research still undermines human dignity.
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