What Happened to Cloning?

It's nearly election time, and polls show that a large percentage of Americans oppose human cloning. As a result, every senator running for re-election wants to return to his or her home state and say, "I voted to ban human cloning," or, as it now appears, "I wanted to vote to ban human cloning." The House passed a comprehensive ban on human cloning last fall, but the Senate has dragged its heels since January. Now it's not likely that Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) will bring cloning to a vote before this session ends. This is in part because Daschle and others don't want a total ban. They want to allow cloning for medical research. And that's a compromise that Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) and others have wisely blocked. Banning live-birth cloning while allowing the production of human embryos for experimentation -- so-called "therapeutic" cloning -- is really something of a shell game. For as scientists clone for experimentation, they will perfect their technique. And as a result it will become easier every day to manufacture embryos, implant them into wombs, and see cloned children born. The Justice Department has testified before Congress that even if implanting cloned embryos into a woman for birth were declared illegal, they would have no ability at all to detect the "crime." Second, it opens a Pandora's box on the production of hundreds of millions of embryonic humans all destined for death. Therapy using cloned embryos would be personalized. A clone would be produced for each patient and then killed for its parts. That would mean the death of 16 million tiny humans for diabetes alone. There is only a hair's breadth of difference between this and the medical experiments of Nazi Germany. These are among the reasons that the president has strongly endorsed the Brownback-Landrieu total ban on human cloning -- "therapeutic" and "reproductive." And it's why at the United Nations the United States reiterated our opposition to any international cloning treaty that doesn't comprehensively ban all human cloning. As bioethicist and Wilberforce Forum dean Nigel Cameron has written, "'Safe' baby cloning is an appalling prospect; manufactured human beings will be the final affront to God the Creator. The killing that abortion grimly involves is a component in this broader manipulative agenda in which human life can be selected, . . . destroyed, and soon will be available for manufacture and fundamental redesign." We cannot let senators return to their home states and tell their constituents that they would have voted to ban human cloning if they'd had a chance when it's not true. Let me urge you: Even if you've already done so, call your two senators and your representative -- or better yet, confront them on the campaign trail. Urge them to go back to Washington and pass a total ban on human cloning that will include "reproductive" and "therapeutic" cloning. I wish the Brownback-Landrieu bill would pass, but this is how politics works. And don't get discouraged. William Wilberforce reintroduced bills to ban slavery year after year for twenty-five years before slavery was ended. With cloning, as with abortion, Christians need to exercise the same steadfastness and tenacity that Wilberforce showed as we fight for the triumph of the culture of life. For further information: The "Bioethics in the New Century Resource Kit" contains books, papers, and other materials to help you grasp the arguments and facts involved in biotechnology and bioethics, including: The New Medicine: Life and Death after Hippocrates by Nigel M. de S. Cameron, Bioethics: A Primer for Christians by Gilber Meileander, "Can We Prevent the Abolition of Man?" by Charles Colson, and more. Visit the Council for Biotechnology Policy Website for more information on cloning, stem-cell research, etc. You can receive the FREE monthly "Biotech Policy Update" e-newsletter by sending an e-mail to with "subscribe" in the subject line. Nigel Cameron, "America's Moral Leadership in the Other War," Council for Biotechnology Policy Website, 27 September 2002. "Statement by Daniel J. Bryant, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legislative Affairs, U.S. Department of Justice," House Government Reform Committee on Human Cloning, 15 May 2002. Also visit the Americans to Ban Cloning Website articles, papers, and other resources on bioethics.


Chuck Colson


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