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UN Still Divided on US-Backed Ban on All Forms of Human Cloning

Despite pressure from the United States, the United Nations has delayed a vote on a proposal to ban all forms of human cloning, including stem cell and other therapeutic cloning research that scientists believe has the potential to treat serious illnesses such as cancer and spinal cord injuries. Belgium has offered a proposal that has been cosponsored by 20 countries, including Britain, that bans reproductive cloning but allows nations to decide for themselves whether to ban therapeutic cloning, place a moratorium on such research, or regulate it through national legislation, reports the Washington Post.

The United States continues to be a strong supporter of Costa Ricas proposal to outlaw all forms of human cloning, which they define as unethical, morally reproachable and contrary to due respect for the human person, according to the New York Times. Susan Moore, a United States special advisor, stated that a ban that differentiates between human reproductive and experimental cloning would essentially authorize the creation of a human embryo for the purpose of destroying it, thus elevating the value of research and experimentation about that of a human life, the Times reports.

According to Kaisernetwork, Bernard Siegel, executive director of the Genetics Policy Institute, sees the delay in the UN vote as a victory for advocates of stem cell research and as a sign of a definite erosion of the US plan to ban cloning for research purposes.

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Media Resources: Kaisernetwork 10/25/04; The New York Times 10/24/04; Washington Post 10/22/04; Feminist News Wire 12/8/03