Majority on Bioethics Panel Urges 4-Year Halt to Human Cloning

But Doesn’t Seek Permanent Ban on Procedure for Research Purposes

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WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 11, 2002 ( A majority of President George W. Bush’s bioethics advisers are recommending a four-year moratorium on all human cloning, to allow for further public debate.

The President’s Council on Bioethics was split on what action Congress should take, but neither of its two recommendations calls for a permanent ban on cloning-for-research favored by Bush and approved by the House last year, the Associated Press said.

The council’s divided report was expected. In February, council chairman Leon Kass said he was abandoning hope of finding consensus, since opinions were so diverse.

Members agreed that cloning for reproductive purposes should be banned outright, for both practical and ethical reasons. In this procedure, a cell from one person would be used to create a second person with the same genetic code.

It was unclear what influence the report might have in the Senate, where members are also divided over whether to allow cloning for research.

«The moratorium would provide time to debate whether we should cross a crucial moral boundary: creating cloned human life solely as a resource for research,» Kass, a bioethicist at the University of Chicago, wrote in today’s edition of the Wall Street Journal.

The Catholic Church — in documents such as Donum Vitae and in speeches such as John Paul II’s Aug. 29, 2000, address to a conference on transplants — condemns human cloning because it either goes against the dignity of procreation, as in the case of reproduction, or because it deliberately destroys a tiny human being, as in the case of research.

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