WASHINGTON (December 17, 2001) -- Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua has urged the U.S. Senate to follow the lead of the House of Representatives and ban human cloning in the United States.
In a letter to the Senate, Cardinal Bevilacqua noted that the House overwhelmingly passed a ban on human cloning last summer (H.R. 2505) which the President has said he will sign into law.
"The leadership of the Senate nonetheless has refused to take action on this measure, or even to consider a temporary moratorium on human cloning research," Cardinal Bevilacqua said. "Such inaction is morally irresponsible and could result in irreversible harm to our society."
The news last month that a firm called Advanced Cell Technology had created human embryos by cloning has added new urgency to Congress's deliberations on this issue, according to Cardinal Bevilacqua, Chairman of the Committee for Pro-Life Activities, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
"Creating human life in the laboratory by cloning should be condemned because it reduces human beings to mere products of a manufacturing technique," the Cardinal said. "When cloning is done to attempt a live birth, the child is produced and wanted not for his or her own sake, but because he or she will carry traits that someone else values and wants to replicate. When cloning is done to pursue medical research, the reduction of human life to a mere instrument is even more complete, for a new human being is created solely to be destroyed for his or her cells and tissues.
Even if medical benefits could be derived from such destruction, it is never morally permissible to achieve good ends through evil actions."
"Neither practice should be allowed in a society that claims to respect inherent human dignity," Cardinal Bevilacqua said.
The Cardinal also challenged alternative legislation (S. 1758) whose proponents say it would ban "reproductive cloning" while allowing medical research to continue. "Such legislation does not ban human cloning, but rather prevents the further development of the cloned human being by requiring its destruction before implantation in a woman's womb," Cardinal Bevilacqua wrote. "It would allow unlimited use of cloning to produce thousands or even millions of human embryos in the laboratory--while creating a new government mandate that none of these embryos be allowed to survive. By passing such misguided and ineffective legislation, Congress for the first time would not only allow the destruction of an entire class of human beings but require such destruction."
"Progress in stem cell research and other medical advances does not depend on the pursuit of human cloning," Cardinal Bevilacqua said. "Rather, a regression in society's respect for human life and human dignity will occur unless human cloning is prohibited by law."
With his letter, Cardinal Bevilacqua sent the Senators additional background material on this issue including a fact sheet on the Human Cloning Prohibition Act and a rebuttal of arguments favoring "therapeutic" uses for human cloning.