Mr John Smeaton, national director of SPUC, commented: "When Tony
Blair's government made it known that it would push through legislation
to authorise research on cloned human embryos for so-called therapeutic
purposes, pro-life groups and a host of eminent scientists warned that
this would inevitably lead to reproductive cloning. Tragically, this
prediction now appears to be coming true even sooner than many of us
"When the British parliament voted to authorise research into
so-called therapeutic cloning, it did so in blatant contravention of
international consensus. Despite the assurances of ministers that the
research would not lead to reproductive cloning, Professor Antinori has
thanked Tony Blair for making it possible to go ahead with his own
plans. Without Britain's lead on therapeutic cloning, Professor
Antinori's plans for reproductive cloning would not have been feasible.
"Reproductive cloning is an extremely sinister and dangerous
development. It will become increasingly difficult to stop Professor
Antinori and others creating babies to order. It will lead to the
creation of a genetic underclass of cloned humans who will be treated
as second-class citizens--commodities to be acquired and used rather
than individuals with rights.
"It will also be impossible to prevent the proliferation of the
new technology. The nightmare scenario of industrialists, dictators or
warped intellectuals trying to populate the future with copies of
themselves, or with people bred to fulfil menial roles in society, is
growing closer every day.
"Yet every cloned human being will be an individual in his or
her own right, with feelings and concerns which we have no right to
neglect. The psychological impact of being a genetic copy of someone
else cannot be underestimated.
"Just as with so-called therapeutic cloning, reproductive
cloning will involve the destruction of countless human embryos in the
process. Moreover, so-called therapeutic cloning is just as wrong as
reproductive cloning. Both entail the creation of new and individual
"It was revealed yesterday that the House of Lords select
committee which is to consider the issues arising from destructive
research on cloned human embryos contains only two peers who voted
against the legislation. Any hope that the committee's membership would
be balanced has fallen foul of the government's determination to
suppress opposition to human cloning. However, we intend to work hard
to redress the imbalance by providing peers with authoritative medical
and scientific evidence."
Mr Smeaton concluded: "All human cloning is a blatant denial of human dignity. It is to the great shame of our country's leaders that Britain has taken the lead in this repugnant technology."