European parliament calls on UK parliament to reject human cloning
11 September 2000
European parliament calls on UK parliament to reject human cloning Westminster, 11 September, 2000--The European Parliament passed a resolution on Thursday (7 September) night which calls on "the UK Government to review its position on human embryo cloning and calls on its honourable colleagues, the Members of the United Kingdom Parliament, to exercise their vote of conscience and reject the proposal to permit research using embryos created by cell nuclear transfer when it is laid before them", reports the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC). The resolution warned that "any relaxation of the present ban (on human cloning) will lead to pressure for further developments in embryo production and usage", saying that "an attempt is being made to use linguistic sleight of hand to erode the moral significance of human cloning." The Parliament also repeated its calls of 1997 and 1998 "to enact binding legislation prohibiting all research into any kind of human cloning within its territory and providing for criminal penalties for any breach" and made no distinction between so-called 'therapeutic' and so-called 'reproductive cloning'. John Smeaton, SPUC national director, welcomed the resolution, saying, "This is a clarion call to the British Government to withdraw its unqualified acceptance of the biased Donaldson report and drop any plans to allow human cloning. This is a further sign of how out of touch this Government is with international opinion on this issue." Mr Smeaton added, "Britain would become a scientific pariah-state if it refused to heed the ever-growing condemnations by our European partners of the unethical and abhorrent practice of human cloning, which is the manufacture and destruction of human life for purely utilitarian purposes." The European Parliament also repeated "its insistence that there should be a universal and specific ban at the level of the United Nations on the cloning of human beings at all stages of formation and development", as well as its support for possible ethical alternatives to embryo research, such as the extraction of stem cells from adults or the umbilical cords of new-born babies. The vote on the resolution was 237 MEPs (including some British ones) in favour, 230 against and 43 abstentions.