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SUPPORT FOR BANS ON HUMAN CLONING

Genetic Crossroads
November 26th, 2002

1. United Nations human cloning treaty

The United Nations has decided to delay until September 2003 a decision about the scope of a treaty to ban human cloning. A proposal by France and Germany to begin negotiations on a treaty that would ban reproductive cloning, to be followed by consideration of a treaty addressing research cloning, was supported by at least 75 countries. However, it was opposed by at least 35 countries, led by the United States and Spain, that called for reproductive cloning and research cloning to be considered simultaneously.

Both Germany and France ban cloning for any purpose at the domestic level, but they proposed an international treaty that would address only reproductive cloning in order to allow quick action. Positions on research cloning vary widely among nations but countries are unanimous in their opposition to reproductive cloning.

Discussions concerning treaty language that might be able to command support from both camps are underway.

See: Edith M. Lederer, “U.N. Treaty on Human Cloning Stalled,” Associated Press (November 19, 2002)
http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/world/wire/sns-ap-un-human-cloning1120nov19,0,3080334.story?coll=sns-ap-world-headlines

For background and other links on the UN and the proposed treaty, see http://www.genetics-and-society.org/policies/international/un.html

2. European Parliament supports full cloning ban

In a related development, the European Parliament has voted 271-154 to support the US-Spain position regarding an international cloning treaty, calling for a ban on both research and reproductive cloning. This vote is not binding on national governments but could be influential.

See “European Parliament Wants Total Ban on Human Cloning,” ZENIT (November 21, 2002)
http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=27981

3. Brazilian National Women’s Congress opposes reproductive cloning

The Brazilian National Feminist Platform, a document based on the input of thousands of activists in Brazil’s women’s movement, includes an article opposing human reproductive cloning. The statement of opposition is part of the Platform’s chapter titled On Sexual Freedom and Reproduction. The document, adopted at a June meeting in Brasilia of the National Women’s Conference, was prepared as part of the lead-up to the recent Brazilian elections that saw the victory of progressive labor leader Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva.

For text of the document, see: http://www.articulacaodemulheres.org.br

4. California makes reproductive human cloning a crime

In September the state of California approved legislation making reproductive cloning a crime. The law defines human reproductive cloning as “the creation of a human fetus that is substantially genetically identical to a previously born human being.” Violators can be fined up to $1 million or double the amount of financial gain from cloning and will lose their professional licenses. At the same time, California approved embryo research legislation explicitly allowing the creation of clonal human embryos. An advisory committee is to be established to review this research, but the manner in which researchers seeking to create clonal human embryos will be held accountable is not clear.

For text of the California legislation see:
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=sb_1230&sess=CUR&house=B&author=alpert
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=sb_253&sess=CUR&house=B&author=ortiz


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