Cloning recommendations unethical and flawed
16 August 2000
Cloning recommendations "unethical and flawed" Westminster, 16 August 2000--Recommendations by the government's committee on cloning are not only unethical but could lead to people being cloned without their knowledge or permission. Paul Tully, general secretary of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children said: "Implementation of the Donaldson report will mean the creation of carbon copy embryos who will be denied the right to live. The recommendations fly in the face of two votes in the European Parliament against human cloning. "Cell nuclear replacement involves so-called somatic cells, but the report does not recommend that consent should be required for the use of such cells. The report says that consent should be obtained from those whose sperm and eggs are used to create embryos through cell nuclear replacement, yet this technique does not involve sperm. It is a nonsense. "The report misrepresents the law on human embryos. It claims that the 1990 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act does not distinguish between embryos created from eggs and sperm and those created by cell nuclear replacement. However, embryos are defined on the first page of the act as resulting from fertilisation. "We oppose the manufacture and destruction of cloned embryos, but alternative stem cell research is being pursued using adult cells. This holds out hope for those with incurable conditions. Killing embryos is not the only way to help, and it is heartless and manipulative to tell patients there is no alternative. "The committee seems to want Britain to catch up with other countries in human spare part research, yet it seeks to permit unethical practices which our European and American competitors have avoided. The Charter of Fundamental Rights may contain an explicit and binding prohibition of cloning. "If the research envisaged in this report goes ahead, it will bring the birth of cloned babies much closer," concluded Mr Tully. SPUC calls for government to withdraw support for cloning recommendations Westminster, 16 August 2000--The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has called upon the British government to withdraw its acceptance of the report by Professor Liam Donaldson, the chief medical officer, which recommends that human cloning be allowed. Paul Tully, general secretary of SPUC, said: "The government has sent an unambiguous signal to its MPs by aligning itself closely with a coterie of pro-cloning scientists. No one will be taken in by the protestations of a free vote for Labour members when the report and the government announcement have been so closely coordinated. Previous so-called free votes on human life issues have been tainted by suggestions of pressure on MPs." He added: "We call upon the government to withdraw its response to the report to allow a truly open debate in the lead-up to the free vote in parliament that it has promised." SPUC welcomed the rejection of the report by Dr Liam Fox MP, shadow health secretary, as well as his endorsement of adult stem cell research. Paul Tully said: "We are heartened by his strong statement and we encourage other MPs to follow his lead". Dr Fox stated earlier today that the use of embryos in human cloning was "morally and ethically unacceptable" and that he would vote against it on principle. He said: "For those of us who never accepted the moral legitimacy of the current legislation [on embryology], it is merely the extension of an already unacceptable position." Mr Tully said: "Parliament should not be bounced into breaking ranks with the rest of the world. Embryo research for cloning humans is unethical research for unethical ends." In May, SPUC and other pro-life groups launched a nationwide petition calling on the Government to outlaw all human cloning, which will be presented to the House of Commons after it resumes sitting in the autumn. SPUC is encouraging members of the public to lobby MPs on the issue.