FOES OF TOTAL HUMAN CLONING BAN AT THE UN ON THE DEFENSIVE

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


Dear Colleague,

Today we report good news. The cloning debate at the UN -- what has been called the most important bioethics decision ever made -- is moving decisively in favor of a total ban. Even France and Germany seem worried!

Spread the word.

Yours Sincerely,

Douglas Sylva
Vice President

Action Item: Now is the time to act: articles, petitions, anything that can raise awareness of the UN debate. If you live in Brazil, Argentina,
Mexico, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, you need to pressure your government to co-sponsor the total ban on human cloning.

FRIDAY FAX

October 10, 2003
Volume 6, Number 42

Foes of Total Human Cloning Ban at the UN on the Defensive

As momentum builds at the United Nations for an international ban on all forms of human cloning, parties seeking a partial ban in order to carry out destructive research on cloned human embryos have adopted a number of new tactics to influence a vote they seem increasingly likely to lose.

The UN debate pits two opposing positions, those countries that seek a total ban on all forms of human cloning, and those countries that
seek a partial ban that would outlaw "reproductive cloning," cloning for
life-birth purposes, but not "therapeutic cloning." Therapeutic cloning is the creation of cloned human embryos in order to use them -- and destroy them -- for the purpose of medical research.

The total ban, introduced by Costa Rica and strongly supported by countries like the United States, Spain, Italy, the Vatican and the
Philippines, has now been co-sponsored by 52 countries. Many other countries have signaled privately that they will support a total ban when
a vote is taken.

As the debate has proceeded over the past two weeks, countries in which therapeutic cloning is legal, even government-financed, such as the
United Kingdom, Singapore and China, have found themselves increasingly isolated. Only 18 countries, the few countries in which therapeutic
cloning is legal plus a handful of others, have co-sponsored the partial ban.

Even France and Germany seem to feel pressure to distance themselves from the countries which perform cloning research. In fact, France and Germany did not even co-sponsor the partial ban resolution, even though they have been lobbying for a partial ban for over a year.

In response to this momentum for the total ban, a group of pro-therapeutic cloning scientists and lawyers have made a highly unusual
request, asking the United Nations to have the International Court of Justice in the Hague intervene in the debate. The group wants the Court of Justice to guide the deliberations through the issuance of an "advisory opinion." It appears likely that the group believes the court of Justice will condemn reproductive cloning, but not therapeutic cloning. One of the members of the group told Reuters that "It is urgent that the public understand and differentiate between the cloning charlatans and those scientists doing critical research that might lead to cures of deadly diseases."

Another tactic appears to be to portray the debate as stymied because the countries seeking a total ban are unwilling to compromise. According to Reuters, "A group of 40 [sic] nations, led by Costa Rica and the US and assembled with the help of US-based anti-abortion groups, insisted on a treaty banning both the cloning of humans and 'therapeutic' or 'experimental' cloning.", thereby resulting in "deadlocked" negotiations that are "headed for collapse."

However, far from being "deadlocked," negotiations appear to be heading in favor of a comprehensive ban, as more and more countries
co-sponsor the Coast Rican proposal. There will be two more days of debate, scheduled for October 20 and 21, after which a vote will most
likely occur.
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