WASHINGTON (January 30, 1998) -- An official of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) urged Congress to "adopt a meaningful ban on human cloning."
"A meaningful ban on human cloning will ban the cloning procedure itself, not pregnancy or live birth," said Richard M. Doerflinger. "Penalties should be directed against the unethical researcher, not his or her innocent victims."
Mr. Doerflinger is Associate Director for Policy Development at the NCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities. His statement was issued at a press briefing at the U.S. Capitol, January 29.
This is the text of the statement:
"In human cloning, a new human being does not arise from the loving union of a man and woman but is manufactured to specifications. The very concepts of 'parent' and 'child' are distorted and rendered meaningless in the process. By depersonalizing procreation, cloning demeans what it creates, treating a member of the human family as an object.
"The dehumanizing aspect of cloning is highlighted by some legislative proposals offered by the biotechnology industry. Assuring Congress that it, too, opposes cloning a 'human being,' the industry proposes to allow the cloning of human embryos-- while prohibiting any action to allow these embryos to be born alive. This would leave researchers free to refine the cloning process, so that in a few years they can announce that it has become 'safe' for reproductive use. In the meantime, they would proceed with the unlimited creation of cloned human embryos who would have no parents in the ordinary sense, and hence no protectors--embryos whose only purpose in life is to be experimented on and destroyed. Creation and destruction of human embryos for research purposes is the kind of abuse that the Washington Post called 'unconscionable' three years ago. That judgment was correct then--it is emphatically correct when the method of creation is itself morally objectionable.
"Congress should discourage such cavalier disregard for human life. A meaningful ban on human cloning will ban the cloning procedure itself, not pregnancy or live birth. Penalties should be directed against the unethical researcher, not his or her innocent victims. I urge Congress to adopt a meaningful ban on human cloning."