Mexican Bishops Call for Ban on All Human Cloning

Fear Legislation That Would Allow “Therapeutic” Procedure

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MEXICO CITY, DEC. 3, 2002 ( The cloning of human beings is an attack against the dignity of the person, whose first and fundamental right is that of life, Mexico’s bishops stress in a new document.

Looking to help the progress of science if it truly serves mankind, the bishops’ commissions on family pastoral care, health-care ministry and doctrine published “Pastoral Reflections on Cloning.”

“Progress that moves away from this path or goes against it, would be, ironically, a regression for humanity, as no nation can promote a healthy and constant development without the recognition of the right to life of every human being from conception,” say the leaders of the three episcopal commissions.

The text, dated Nov. 11, is prompted in part by legislation in the National Congress that would allow “therapeutic” cloning of human embryos, to accommodate embryonic stem-cell research.

“Biotechnological discoveries, among which is cloning, are diffused with greater facility; not so the ethical criteria that should regulate them,” says the document.

The bishops explain that “the moral lawfulness or unlawfulness of human cloning […] in the ultimate instance depends on the concept one has of the human being.”

Thinkers, researchers, scientists and even atheists accept that “the value of the human person is radical […] with the exception of totalitarian regimes, in which the individual can exist in function of the species,” the bishops explain.

In Mexico, “the Supreme Court of Justice of the nation has confirmed that the human being, from the moment of his conception and/or fertilization, is protected by the Federal Constitution, and that Article 4 of our Magna Carta, which establishes that no one can be deprived of life, implies the right-to-life of the one conceived,” they say.

Regarding the “therapeutic” justification for cloning, the bishops respond: “No human being may be instrumentalized or used to obtain the good of another,” since such a medical procedure would subordinate the cloned human being to the sick person.

The Mexican bishops further recognize that “undoubtedly, research with stem cells gives much hope for the well-being of humanity.”

Fortunately, “the use of embryos is not the only way to obtain these cells,” they stress. “An alternative consists in the isolation of stem cells from the context of differentiated adult tissues, as the presence of this type of cells in the bone-marrow, in the blood of the umbilical cord, and in the placenta, has been confirmed.”

“This line of research, which is licit and also plausible, is the one we encourage scientists of our country to follow,” the bishops conclude.

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