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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 9 January 2003

9 January 2003

9 January 2003 The European Commission has called for an international ban on human cloning, but only for reproductive purposes. Philippe Busquin, the EU's commissioner for research, declared yesterday that "reproductive cloning must be condemned not only for obvious ethical reasons and common values, but also because it is about an utterly irresponsible practice from the scientific point of view." [Reuters, via Yahoo News, 8 January ] The European parliament has described attempts to distinguish between reproductive and therapeutic cloning as 'linguistic sleight of hand' and voted only last November in favour of a comprehensive cloning ban. Prominent members of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest protestant denomination in the US, have urged Christians to promote "a culture of life in the midst of the culture of death". A magazine published by the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky features articles on abortion, euthanasia and cloning by figures including R Albert Mohler Jr, president of the seminary, and Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's ethics and religious liberty commission. Dr Land wrote: "Christians, in particular, have an obligation to confront these critical moral and ethical issues with a scriptural response. These are hard questions, but God's Word gives the simple but indisputable answer: Human life from conception onward should be protected, not endangered." The publication marks the 30th anniversary later this month of the US supreme court's Roe v Wade decision which declared a constitutional right to abortion. [BP News, 8 January ] Legislation to ban human cloning for all purposes has been re-introduced in the US Congress by a bipartisan coalition of legislators. A comprehensive cloning ban was passed in the House of Representatives last year, but was never taken up by the Democrat-controlled Senate. The new bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Dave Weldon, a Republican, and Bart Stupak, a Democrat, and already has 87 co-sponsors - including 20 Democrats. Senator Sam Brownback is expected to introduce a similar bill in the Senate, which now has a Republican majority, and the legislation is thought to have a good chance of success. [AP and Pro-Life Infonet, 8 January]

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