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Thread: Backers of UN ban on cloning criticize US approach

  1. #1

    Backers of UN ban on cloning criticize US approach

    Backers of UN ban on cloning criticize US approach

    By Irwin Arieff

    UNITED NATIONS, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Supporters of a global treaty to ban human cloning are accusing Washington of injecting U.S. anti-abortion politics into the debate in a way that could delay or even kill the pact.

    U.S. officials say they want the United Nations to draft the strongest possible accord by assuring it bans cloning of humans and so-called "therapeutic" or "experimental" cloning, in which human embryos would be cloned for research only.

    But while U.N. members unanimously favor a treaty to ban cloning that could lead to making human babies, only a handful -- including Spain, the Philippines, the Vatican and some Latin American countries -- back the U.S. position that a pact must also ban cloning for research purposes.

    The issue is expected to come to a head this month. The U.N. General Assembly's legal committee has tentatively scheduled a vote for Oct. 17 on a resolution to guide the drafting process.

    Treaty backers said the U.S. stance could doom the project.

    "The idea of a state like the United States standing in the way of an international agreement -- not because it disagrees with it but because it wants something more -- is extremely counterproductive and almost hypocritical," George Annas, professor of public health and bioethics at Boston University and a champion of a treaty on cloning, said in a telephone interview.

    A version of the resolution put forward by the United States would ban both reproductive cloning, in which an embryo is cloned with the goal of producing a human baby, and the cloning of embryos for research purposes alone.

    ONE TREATY VS TWO

    A rival version, put forward by France and Germany, would tell the drafters to write a treaty banning only reproductive cloning and finish the job by the end of 2003, if possible.

    It would also encourage governments to adopt rules or laws restricting other forms of cloning and suggest that a second treaty be drafted "without delay" to address this issue.

    German envoy Christian Much, a vice-chairman of the working group of drafters, portrayed the process as "a race against science" and predicted the legal committee, made up of representatives of all 191 U.N. member-states, would back Paris and Berlin over Washington for that reason.

    A treaty could be open to ratification by early 2004 under the Franco-German approach, but the U.S. version would be stymied by controversy over curbing research, such as stem-cell studies, that could save lives, he told Reuters.

    "This all or nothing approach amounts to a 'Let's have nothing' approach," Much said.

    While most nations back the Franco-German guidelines, "the U.S. and Spanish governments are putting heavy pressure on some third-world countries" to change sides, he said.

    U.S. officials declined to be interviewed on the record on the drafting process.

    Other U.N. envoys and outside groups said Washington was taking its marching orders from the U.S. anti-abortion movement, which above all sees the embryos that would be used in medical studies as potential human beings.

    "We are concerned about research that deliberately and knowingly ends up killing a human being," said Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, a non-profit public policy group that favors the U.S. approach.

    The General Assembly first voted to draft a treaty last year, at the request of France and Germany, after Italian fertility specialist Severino Antinori announced his intention to become the first scientist to clone a human being.

    Numerous researchers have since claimed progress in research into the mechanics of cloning a variety of animals as well as humans, their organs and cells. But none so far has boasted of fashioning human clones in a laboratory.



    10/08/02 15:32 ET

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    I'm a U.S. citizen, I think Therapeutic Cloning is acceptable.

    Shouldn't Bush wait until the United States decides before he tries forcing a ban on the world?

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