WASHINGTON (June 7, 2001) -- A new poll commissioned by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops confirms that Americans overwhelmingly oppose human cloning -- whether it is used to provide born children for infertile couples or to produce human embryos for medical research.
The questions on cloning were included in a multi-issue survey conducted by International Communications Research (ICR), a national polling firm headquartered in Media, Pennsylvania. A weighted sample of over a thousand American adults was surveyed by telephone between June 1 and June 5 to obtain the results.
"Previous polls showed overwhelming opposition to human cloning," said Richard Doerflinger, Associate Director for Policy Development at the NCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities. "But they did not test for public sentiment on what some call 'therapeutic cloning' -- that is, making human embryos to be destroyed for medical research. This new poll shows that Americans are as opposed to that practice as they are to 'reproductive cloning,' trying to create liveborn children for infertile couples."
These results became available as the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime is about to hold hearings on legislation to ban human cloning. The Catholic bishops' conference endorsed the Brownback/Weldon "Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2001" (S. 790, H.R. 1644). This legislation would ban use of somatic cell nuclear transfer -- the technique used to
create "Dolly" the sheep -- to create a living organism of the human species, whether for reproductive or experimental purposes. It would not affect use of cloning techniques to produce DNA, cells other than human embryos, tissues, organs, or plants and animals.
"This survey indicates that the American people strongly support the goals of the Brownback/Weldon bill," said Mr. Doerflinger. "We hope Congress will act swiftly to approve this legislation and prevent irresponsible attempts at human cloning."
The survey results were as follows:
Should scientists be allowed to use human cloning to try to create children for infertile couples?
Don't Know 2.6%
Should scientists be allowed to use human cloning to create a supply of human embryos to be destroyed in medical research?
Don't Know 3.8%
The survey of 1013 adult Americans has a margin of error of plus or minus 3%.