Cloning Critics Seek Support from Bush

WASHINGTON, D.C., DEC. 18, 2000 (

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Some bioethicists are asking that President-elect George W. Bush honor the pledges he made in recent months and refrain from allocating federal funds for stem-cell research, the Cybercast News Service reported.

«The problem with genetic testing … is that [it´s tantamount] to playing the role of God,» said Father Joseph Howard, executive director of the American Bioethics Advisory Commission and a former resident of Texas.

Father Howard pointed to the cloning studies under way at the University of Wisconsin and in Britain as evidence of the reality of a future that theoretically could include scientifically, tailor-made humans, the news service said.

«Human cloning is based on irresponsible science, and it leads to disastrous and inhumane results,» Father Howard was quoted as saying. He added that DNA testing can also lead to selective abortions, in that pregnant women may one day be able to test their unborn for genetic deficiencies and decide whether his or her life should be terminated.

Advocates of stem-cell research and genetic testing have argued that knowledge of embryonic disorders could aid efforts to develop cures, and also allow would-be parents a choice in raising a child they believe is fated to a problematic life.

But opponents like Father Howard say that while some genetic research is beneficial, scientists should always be mindful of the temptation to alter «God´s will.»

The American Bioethics Advisory Commission has called upon Bush to maintain the same attitudes toward genetic testing that he held while serving as governor of Texas. During his years as governor, he opposed research deemed irresponsible by withholding taxpayer funds and denounced such scientific studies as «unethical.»

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