US President George W Bush immediately condemned last week's announcement by a Massachusetts biotechnology company that it had created the world's first cloned human embryo, saying that the breakthrough was 'morally wrong' and that 'we should not as a society grow life to destroy it'. The White House called for senators to push forward legislation banning any human cloning passed by the US House of Representatives earlier in the year.
The president's views were echoed by some senators. Sam Brownback, a Kansas republican, said that he would try to make the Senate adopt a Bill before the Christmas recess. If this failed, he planned to press for a six-month moratorium to temporarily ban all cloning research.
Senator Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvanian republican, vowed to fight against a moratorium or early passage of the cloning bill. Senator Tom Daschle, Democrat leader in the Senate, said that he would make sure the vote goes ahead early next year as originally planned. On Tuesday, the Senate rejected an attempt at rapid legislation, delaying the vote for several months to ensure that a sweeping ban does not stifle research. There is widespread and possibly unanimous opposition in the Senate to human reproductive cloning, which senator Barbara Boxer said that they could stop 'in a minute'.
A statement issued by the Vatican on Wednesday also condemned cloning, saying that it would constitute a 'threat to life'. Pope John Paul said 'true humanism can never permit methods and experiments that constitute threats against life that are programmed in a scientific and systematic manner'. In Italy, lawmakers called for a total ban on all human cloning.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Prime Minister has come under fire for not passing speedy legislation on human cloning. The government has drafted legislation that would ban the creation of any embryos for research, including those created by cell nucleus replacement (CNR). The Liberal government refuses to fast-track legislation, as a government committee is due to report next month. The government will then take time to draft legislation, which will then have to be passed through both houses of Parliament.