ROME, NOV. 5, 2002 (Zenit.org).- At least 29 countries have joined forces to request a U.N. statement against all forms of human cloning, diplomatic sources told ZENIT.
The initiative, which stems from a memorandum presented by Spain, has the support of the United States, Argentina, Italy and Nigeria, among others.
The document adopted Oct. 18 by these countries requests that a international convention aimed at reproductive cloning be extended to include all forms of human cloning, including so-called therapeutic cloning, in which human embryos are used for research.
The treaty against reproductive cloning was first proposed by France and Germany in August 2001. Last February, a U.N. meeting has held to prepare a plan for an international convention.
Already at that meeting, several countries proposed the extension of the prohibition on cloning for therapeutic purposes.
Spain’s memorandum calls for the prohibition of therapeutic cloning because “contrary to what is often alleged,” the practice “also implies experimentation with human embryos and is incompatible with legal and safe scientific research.”
The text mentions the European Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine, the Oviedo Convention, ratified in 1999 by several states. Article 18.2 of the convention expressly prohibits “the creation of human embryos for purposes of experimentation.”
The Spanish memorandum adds that “it is not possible to control the efficacy of the prohibition of human cloning for reproductive ends if cloning for therapeutic ends is not also prohibited.”
“A partial prohibition might give way to the advent of a clandestine cloning business for reproductive purposes, with the establishment of an illegal trade of ova,” it says.
“Given practical experience, the results obtained in experiments of animal cloning reinforce the need to prohibit all types of human cloning,” as “the accumulated experience in the cloning of animals has manifested a very reduced efficiency of the techniques used and considerable risks of malformation and deformation of the embryo,” the document explains.
Lastly, the memorandum states that “to oppose human cloning is not equivalent to denying the progress of science and genetic research.”
“Cloning is not the only research strategy to develop regenerating medicine,” it notes. “Research with adult stem cells, in addition to presenting itself as a safer alternative that is more respectful of the embryo, is already giving very relevant results.”