President Bush has told the United Nations (UN) that he supports a UN draft resolution that would ban all forms of human cloning. The President's speech, to the UN General Assembly, took his belief in 'human dignity' as its theme. He spoke first about the situation in Iraq, before moving on to discuss the fight against poverty, disease and terrorism. Then he included a reference to the 'protection of life', saying that 'because we believe in human dignity, we should take seriously the protection of life from exploitation under any pretext'. The protection of life, he said, extended to a ban on all forms of human cloning.
This November, the UN is due to revisit its draft resolutions on cloning. Discussions were postponed last year due to a lack of agreement between member nations. One proposal, sponsored by Belgium and a number of other nations, including China, Japan, France, Germany and the UK, is for a UN resolution that would ban human reproductive cloning only, while allowing individual states to regulate cloning for research purposes as they see fit. A competing proposal, sponsored by Costa Rica and supported by about 50 countries including the US, calls for a UN treaty to ban all forms of human cloning. President Bush told the UN that 'I support that resolution and urge all governments to affirm a basic ethical principle: no human life should ever be produced or destroyed for the benefit of another'.
Last December, the stalemate between the two proposals prompted a third proposal from a group of Islamic nations, led by Iran. This stated that the vote should be delayed for two years so that the scientific and ethical issues could be studied further. UN delegates narrowly voted in favour of this proposal, but the Bush administration and others were able to persuade the UN that the delay should only be for one year. In August, The UK's Royal Society and 67 other science academies around the world urged the UN to ban human reproductive cloning only, whilst leaving individual countries to regulate therapeutic cloning. The debate is likely to be re-introduced at the UN's 59th General Session in October.