Forum Bioethik Deutschland und Frankreich haben in Gestalt ihrer Außenminister unter
grossem Tohuwabohu eine UN-Initiative zum Verbot des reproduktiven
Klonens gestartet. Nun haben sich die USA (!) dafür eingesetzt, nicht
nur das reproduktive, sondern JEDES Klonen zu ächten. Man lese und
staune (und wende sich an Joschka Fischer).

Thomas  Friedl (Büro Hüppe)


Carolyn Willson 
Legal Adviser Statement in the Ad Hoc Committee on the International 
Convention Against the Reproductive Cloning of Human Beings 
February 26, 2002

USUN PRESS RELEASE # 25 (02) February 27, 2002 

Statement by Carolyn Willson, Legal Adviser, U.S. Mission to the United
Nations, in the Ad Hoc Committee on the International Convention Against
the Reproductive Cloning of Human Beings, February 26, 2002

Mr. Chairman,

We would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to
the French and German governments for taking the initiative on human
cloning, and to the members of the two panels that have provided the Ad
Hoc Committee with valuable background information. My delegation
welcomes the opportunity to explain the position of the United States on
this issue.

Cloning refers to any process that results in the creation of an
identical or nearly identical genetic copy of a molecule, cell, or
individual plant, animal, or human. Cloning occurs in nature. Somatic
cell nuclear transfer is a cloning technique used by scientists to
produce a nearly genetically identical copy of an existing animal. The
product of somatic cell nuclear transfer is an embryo.

Scientists conduct two types of experiments using somatic cell nuclear
transfer. The first type of experiment, sometimes described as
"reproductive" cloning, involves the creation of an embryo through
cloning, and its subsequent implantation into the uterus with the
objective of creating a living animal. The other kind of experiment,
sometimes described as "research," "experimental," or "therapeutic"
cloning, involves the creation of a cloned embryo, which is then used to
derive stem cells or, after the embryo is grown to a fetal stage,
tissues for transplantation. For example, after the embryo grows to the
blastocyst stage in 5-9 days, the embryo is destroyed in order to derive
embryonic stem cells that may hold the potential for the development of
cell replacement therapies. 

Human cloning is an enormously troubling development in biotechnology.
It is unethical in itself and dangerous as a precedent. The possible
creation of a human being through cloning raises many ethical concerns.
It constitutes unethical experimentation on a child-to-be, subjecting
him or her to enormous risks of bodily and developmental abnormalities.
It threatens human individuality, deliberately saddling the clone with
the genetic makeup of a person who has already lived. It risks making
women's bodies a commodity, with women being paid to undergo risky drug
treatment so they will produce the many eggs that are needed for
cloning. It is also a giant step toward a society in which life is
created for convenience, human beings are grown for spare body parts,
and children are engineered to fit eugenic specification.

We cannot allow human life to be devalued in this way. A proposal has
been made to ban only so-called "reproductive" cloning, by prohibiting
the transfer of a cloned embryo into a woman to begin a pregnancy in the
hopes of creating a human baby. This approach is unsound. While upon
initial consideration of the issue a ban on reproductive cloning may
seem easily attainable and desirable, the issue is very complex and
should be addressed comprehensively.

First, a ban that prohibited only "reproductive" cloning, but left
"therapeutic" or "experimental" cloning unaddressed, would essentially
authorize the creation and destruction of human embryos explicitly and
solely for research and experimentation. It would turn nascent human
life into a natural resource to be mined and exploited, eroding the
sense of the worth and dignity of the individual. This prospect is
repugnant to many people, including those who do not believe that the
embryo is a person.

Second, to ban "reproductive" cloning effectively, all human cloning
must be banned. Under a partial ban that permitted the creation of
cloned embryos for research, human embryos would be widely cloned in
laboratories and assisted-reproduction facilities. Once cloned embryos
are available, it would be virtually impossible to control what was done
with them. Stockpiles of embryonic clones could be produced, bought and
sold without anyone knowing it. Implantation of cloned embryos would
take place out of sight, and even elaborate and intrusive regulations
and policing could not detect or prevent the initiation of a clonal
pregnancy because the same process of implantation would be used as is
currently used to implant embryos resulting from in vitro fertilization.
Once begun, an illicit clonal pregnancy would be virtually impossible to
detect. And if detected, governments would be unlikely to compel the
pregnancy to be aborted or severely penalize the pregnant woman for
allowing the implantation or for failure to abort the pregnancy. A ban
only on "reproductive" cloning would therefore be a false ban, creating
the illusion that such cloning had been prohibited. 

Third, a ban that permits embryonic clones to be created and forbids
them to be implanted in utero legally requires the destruction of
nascent human life and criminalizes efforts to preserve and protect it
once created, a morally abhorrent prospect.

Fourth, there may be other routes to developing new treatment therapies
using stem cells and to solving the transplant rejection problems that
may result from the use of non-identical tissue transplants. To date,
there is no animal research to support the claim that cloned embryonic
stem cells are therapeutically efficacious. A legal ban on "therapeutic"
cloning would allow time for the investigation of promising and less
problematic research alternatives such as adult stem-cell research. It
would also allow time for policy makers and the public to develop more
informed judgments about cloning, and for the establishment of
regulatory structures to oversee applications of cloning technology that
society deems acceptable.

There are other cloning techniques that do not raise these moral and
ethical concerns. For example, scientists routinely employ cellular or
molecular cloning in their work to make genetically identical cells for
research. These other cloning techniques - that do not entail the
creation and destruction of human embryos - are currently being used to
develop therapies to treat disease.  Any ban on human cloning should
explicitly state that it does not prohibit the use of nuclear transfer
or other cloning techniques to produce molecules, organs, plants,
tissues, cells other than human embryos, or animals other than humans.

We believe that States should actively pursue the potential medical and
scientific benefits of adult stem-cell research. Such research does not
require the exploitation and destruction of nascent human life, nor does
it open the door to the dehumanizing possibilities that will come with
the cloning of human beings.

The United States does not support a ban limited to "reproductive"
cloning. We believe that so-called "therapeutic" or "experimental"
cloning, which involves the creation and destruction of human embryos,
must be included.

Thus, the United States supports a global and comprehensive ban on human
cloning through somatic cell nuclear transfer, regardless of the purpose
for which the human clone is produced .  We look forward to working with
other delegations to achieve that objective.

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