British cloning is morally wrong, says Bush adviser

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The Independent Online

George Bush's chief adviser on medical ethics accused Britain yesterday of crossing a "moral boundary" by allowing the cloning of human embryos.

George Bush's chief adviser on medical ethics accused Britain yesterday of crossing a "moral boundary" by allowing the cloning of human embryos.

Dr Leon Kass launched his attack in an address to the conference ahead of a United Nations vote tomorrow which the Americans hope willlead to a worldwide ban on all cloning. British scientists, backed by the Government, say a ban would seriously hamper research into diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Last month, scientists at Newcastle University were granted the first British licence for therapeutic cloning, creating copies of human embryos and harvesting stem cells from them which can develop into any tissue of the body. The embryos, a cluster of cells no bigger than a pinhead, are destroyed before they are 14 days old. Reproductive cloning - which aims to create human life - is outlawed in the UK and most of the rest of the world. Some maverick scientists claim they have already created a cloned baby, although they produced no evidence.

The UN vote is on whether to back a world ban on reproductive and therapeutic cloning. Mr Bush and the Costa Rican government want to outlaw all forms.Britain is backing a proposal which would ban reproductive cloning but allow countries to decide individually. In the US elections, cloning has become an issue, with John Kerry backing therapeutic cloning.

Dr Kass, chairman of Mr Bush's Council on Bioethics, said: "Britain is wrong. A woman's body should not be a laboratory for research or a factory for spare body parts. No child should be forced to say, 'My father or mother is an embryonic stem cell'."

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