Immediate Ban on Human Cloning Is Needed
For Immediate Release. November
27, 2001 President George W. Bush should be commended for promoting
morality and the sanctity of life when he condemned the work of scientists
at Advanced Cell Technology Inc. (ACT), a biotechnology firm based in
Worcester Massachusetts that
announced it had created human embryos through cloning. Although, the research was in its initial phase
of development, all cloned embryos died.
According to mounting evidence, cloning healthy animals
is becoming more difficult than scientists first realized. Often problems
arise from cloned organisms such as heart defects, lung problems, malfunctioning
immune systems and severe delays in growth and development. For example,
appearing normal as young adults, some cloned mice suddenly grew grotesquely
fat. Until an age equivalent to a 30-year-old human, the fat mice appeared
fine. Developmental abnormalities have also been seen in cloned mice
like ear twitching and taking longer to open their eyes. Furthermore,
cow clones have exhibited developmental problems with their hearts,
including the defect of enlarged hearts.
Researchers have indicated that the genetic defects
of most often seem to be fatal at the very beginning of life. For example,
typically 100 attempts are required with cattle to create a clone that
results in a single live calf. Although only 2-3 percent of the cloned
experiments succeed, cloning mice, in comparison to cows, is much more
Scientists have learned that mice cloned from embryonic
stem cells may look identical to normal mice but are harboring unique
genetic abnormalities. These unseen abnormalities may explain the mystery
as to why so many clones do not survive to birth.
Scientists may face unexpected challenges as they try
to turn the controversial cells into treatment for various degenerative
conditions if the same defects are true for human embryonic stem cells.
In July, the House of Representatives, by a vote of
265-162 passed a ban on cloning. However,
despite the view of the President and many Congressional leaders calling
for a law to stop fast-moving cloning research, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (Democrat-South
Dakota) has no plan to rush a ban on human cloning. Debate on the issue was avoided in the Senate
this month and postponed until March 2002 after Senate leaders promised
extensive hearings. In 1998,
the year after the announcement that scientists had cloned Dolly, the
sheep, the Senate rejected a broad cloning ban.
"It is time for, the Senate to provide worldwide
moral and ethical leadership by preventing scientists from creating
human embryos and then destroying them and pass a complete ban on human
cloning immediately," said Dr. Joel P. Rutkowski, president of
the American Voice Institute of Public Policy. "Life is a precious,
God-given gift and should not be subject to reckless and irresponsible
scientific experimentation that could produce fatal flaws and deformities
in the name of medical scientific advancement."
Joel P. Rutkowski, P.h.D.
President, The American Voice Institute Of Public Policy
to the American Voice Institute of Public Policy Home Page