WASHINGTON (May 22, 2001) -- Cardinal William H. Keeler has urged all members of Congress to support the
Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2001 (S. 790, H.R. 1644). This legislation would prohibit use of the cloning technique used to make Dolly the sheep to produce a living organism of the human species.
Cardinal Keeler said this bill has been endorsed by concerned religious groups with divergent views on abortion, such as the Catholic bishops' conference and the General Board on Church and Society of The United Methodist Church. He termed it "the most carefully crafted and widely supported bill to be introduced on this issue."
The Cardinal noted, for example, that any use of cloning techniques to produce DNA, cells other than human embryos, tissues, plants or animals other than humans is explicitly excluded from the scope of the bill. The bill also encourages further study by a government advisory commission to assess any impact of the ban on medical research and any future need to revise its definition of cloning in light of new developments.
Cardinal Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore, is Chairman of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee for Pro-Life Activities. He wrote to all members of Congress May 21.
The Cardinal also took issue with another kind of bill that is being proposed which would not ban human cloning, but prohibit implanting cloned human embryos in a womb for purposes of live birth. "Such a selective ban would define a class of new human beings that it is a crime not to destroy," Cardinal Keeler said. "It would also set the stage for 'reproductive' cloning in the
future, by giving a green light to the wasteful and destructive embryo experiments needed to refine the cloning process." He cited the Conference's May 2 testimony before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Science, Technology and Space to show that this approach would be morally, legally and practically defective.
The Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2001 was introduced by Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Rep. Dave Weldon (R-FL).
Full Written Testimony
NCCB fact sheets on human cloning