France Moves to Ban Medical Embryo Cloning

British Scientists Urge Worldwide Moratorium

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PARIS, JUNE 20, 2001 ( France today adopted a draft law to ban human cloning in medical research, Reuters reported.

Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin´s Cabinet adopted the proposal despite his past declarations of support for the technology´s potential benefits in treating and curing disease.

President Jacques Chirac, a staunch foe of human embryo cloning, welcomed the legislation. He said that priority should be given to finding other ways of advancing cell therapy and urged adoption of the law in Parliament before elections next spring.

Britain has legalized such cloning in medical research, also known as therapeutic cloning, even though the procedure often leads to the destruction of tiny embryonic human beings. Many other countries are still updating their statute books to try to keep pace with scientific developments.

Leading British scientists, meanwhile, called for an international ban on human cloning, but said the moratorium should not stop scientific research into cloning for therapeutic reasons.

The Royal Society, an academy of top scientists, warned that the dangers of human cloning included the risk of creating severely handicapped individuals.

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