UN Adopts Pro-Life Declaration Against Human Cloning
In a monumental victory for the pro-life movement, the UN todayadopted a declaration condemning human cloning. The UN called on Member States to adopt urgent legislation outlawing all cloning practices “as they are incompatible with human dignity and the protection of human life.”
“This is a powerful message to the world that this morallyquestionable procedure is outside the bounds of acceptableexperimentation,” said Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, one of the main NGOs involved in the negotiation. “By adopting this declaration, the international community is united in condemning all human cloning as exploitative and unethical. This should encourage similar bans in legislatures around the world including in the US Senate,” said Ruse. The declaration also marks the end of three years of UN deadlock over human cloning.
Countries were divided mainly over whether to protect “human life” or the “human being.” Costa Rica, Uganda, the United States and others who sought to ban all forms of human cloning, supported “human life.”
Countries including Belgium, Singapore and the United Kingdom, who wanted to ban only cloning that would result in born human beings, insisted on protecting the “human being,” which according to some international legal documents would protect only those already born.
The declaration also calls on countries to “prevent the exploitation of women.” Cloning requires harvesting eggs from women, and delegates from developing countries feared their women being turned into inexpensive “egg farms.” The declaration calls on wealthier nations to direct attention and funding to pressing medical issues such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. It also condemns all applications of any genetic engineering techniques that threaten human dignity.
The declaration sets an international ethical standard that sends a clear signal to countries that encourage human cloning. For instance, in the United Kingdom, two “licenses” for research cloning have been issued.
The first is currently subject to a legal challenge on the basis that the cloning “license” is unlawful and unnecessary. It is due to be heard in the High Court shortly. Cloning opponents in the United Kingdom welcomed the UN’s resolution and look forward to Member States fulfilling their international obligations.