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The UN General Assembly adopted a Declaration 8March05 calling on nations to enact legislation to “prohibit all forms of human cloning.”    By a vote of 84 to 34, the Declaration received more support in the General Assembly than when it passed in the 6th Committee two weeks ago. An additional 6 countries stated that they supported the Declaration but missed the vote. The measure sets an international standard that humans should not be created through cloning for any purpose, placing human life as a priority over scientific experimentation…

The decision ends over three years of deadlock caused by countries seeking approval for cloning research. Belgium, the United Kingdom, Singapore and other countries that hope to profit from cloning humans opposed a total ban, and declared they would defy the international moral agreement.

The topic was originally introduced at the UN by pro-cloning countries to gain implicit international approval for so-called “therapeutic cloning” (creating human clones to experiment upon and kill). In 2002, these countries requested that a treaty be drafted to ban only so-called “reproductive cloning.” The countries insisted that human clones are for research only and should not be allowed to survive.

The pro-cloning countries lost support as Costa Rica took the lead, along with the U.S. and pro-life groups, to educate countries that cloning would violate the human rights of both cloned embryos and women. The embryos would be created and destroyed at the whim of scientists. Women would be treated as commodities to harvest their eggs.

Additionally, adult stem cells, the use of which is ethical, are already doing what cloning only promises by providing near-miraculous treatments for patients with a variety of illnesses, such as Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury, heart failure, cancer and blindness.

The Declaration, introduced by Honduras, also calls on Member States to introduce measures to “prevent exploitation of women.” Delegates from developing countries feared that women from poor countries would be targeted as a source for the large number of women’s eggs that would be needed to support these “egg farms.” The procedure by which eggs are extracted from these vulnerable women is painful and dangerous to their lives and health.

The news was highly praised by pro-life groups internationally as a considerable breakthrough, uniting the international community in condemning human cloning as exploitative and unethical.

Lea Sevick, C-FAM ( 201-407-0826
Thomas Jacobson, Focus on the Family ( 719-651-3366
Samantha Singson, Campaign Life Coalition – Canada 416-576-1494
Jeanne Head, UN Representative for National Right to Life at 212-741-2681 or
917-660-3136 – BULLETIN, March 8, 2005]


In a monumental victory for the dignity of human life, the UN [18Feb05] adopted a declaration condemning human cloning. The UN called on Member States to adopt urgent legislation outlawing all cloning practices “as they are incompatible with human dignity and the protection of human life.”

Costa Rica, which led the effort for a cloning ban, called the declaration a success for those who seek to promote ethical scientific research. 

“By adopting this declaration, the international community is united in condemning all human cloning as exploitative and unethical. This should encourage similar bans in legislatures around the world including in the US Senate,” said Austin Ruse, president of NGO C-Fam. 

The declaration, introduced by Honduras, came on the last day of a week-long special session devoted entirely to resolving this issue. The declaration proved at the last minute to be an acceptable compromise to countries that have appeared staunchly divided all week.

Countries were divided mainly over whether to protect “human life” or the “human being.” Costa Rica, Uganda, the United States and others who sought to ban all forms of human cloning, supported “human life.” Countries including Belgium, Singapore and the United Kingdom, who wanted to ban only cloning that would result in born human beings, insisted on protecting the “human being,” which according to some international legal documents would protect only those already born.

The declaration also calls on countries to “prevent the exploitation of women.” Cloning requires harvesting eggs from women, and delegates from developing countries feared their women being turned into inexpensive “egg farms.”

The declaration calls on wealthier nations to direct attention and
funding to pressing medical issues such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. It also condemns all applications of any genetic engineering techniques that threaten human dignity.

The declaration sets an international ethical standard that sends a clear signal to countries that encourage human cloning. For instance, in the United Kingdom, two “licenses” for research cloning have been issued. The first is currently subject to a legal challenge on the basis that the cloning “license” is unlawful and unnecessary. It is due to be heard in the High Court shortly.

Cloning opponents in the United Kingdom welcomed the UN’s resolution and look forward to Member States fulfilling their international obligations.

[Friday Fax, 18Feb05, Volume 8, Special Report,C-FAM (one of the main NGOs involved in the negotiation)  (212) 754-5948]