Bush-Backed Ban on Human Cloning Wins Praise

Pro-lifer Says President Was True to His Word

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WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 22, 2001 (Zenit.org).- A pro-life leader hailed the Bush administration´s decision to back legislation banning any form of human cloning, including «therapeutic cloning» used in embryonic stem cell research.

Robert A. Best, president of the Culture of Life Foundation, said President George W. Bush was true to his word. Best had received a letter from Bush expressing his strong opposition to research that involved the destruction of a living human embryo.

On Wednesday, Deputy Secretary of Health Claude Allen told a congressional hearing that U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson and Bush «oppose any and all attempts to clone a human being.»

«We oppose the use of human somatic cell nuclear transfer cloning techniques either to assist human reproduction or to develop cell- or tissue-based therapies,» Allen said.

The congressional testimony marked the first time the Republican administration has made its position on the controversial topic clearly known.

In 1997 the Clinton administration declared a five-year moratorium on experiments in human cloning funded with public money. But to date there exists no federal law barring private financing of such research.

An intense debate has ensued in the United States, with many religious groups calling for an outright ban on moral grounds, and scientists pressing the administration to authorize federal financing for public research on therapeutic cloning.

U.S. lawmakers now have two bills on human cloning before them.

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