US President George W Bush has urged the Senate to pass a bill that would ban human cloning in its entirety. His White House speech, in front of 175 known cloning opponents last Wednesday, is said to be his 'most forceful yet' in support of an anti-cloning bill, sponsored by Kansas senator Sam Brownback.
Bush said that allowing even therapeutic cloning to continue would be contrary to the 'fundamental principle of medical ethics - that no human life should be exploited or extinguished for the benefit of another' because the procedure involves the creation and destruction of an embryo.
Last August, President Bush allowed federal funds to be used in embryo stem cell research, but he is apparently distinguishing the two decisions on the basis that the stem cell lines he allowed work to take place on were already in existence. He is in favour of a ban on all human cloning because he sees no guarantee that allowing therapeutic cloning would not lead to reproductive cloning, and is quoted as saying 'even the tightest regulations and strict policing would not prevent or detect the birth of cloned babies'. He has also expressed concern that a market in women's eggs would result from allowing cloning and that women would be exploited. Further, he doubts the effectiveness of therapeutic cloning, saying that the 'designer cells' taken from cloned embryos may be rejected by patients' immune systems.
Senate majority leader, Tom Daschle, acknowledged that there was widespread support for a ban on human reproductive cloning, but pointed out that there were strong differences in opinion about the need to allow cloning research to be used in medicine. There is currently an alternative cloning bill before the Senate that would ban only reproductive cloning. In a statement following the President's speech, Daschle said that he plans to call for a vote on the matter in May.
Sources and References
Bush presses for human cloning ban
President presses Senate to ban all human cloning