WASHINGTON (May 19, 2005) — Over three-quarters of Americans oppose allowing researchers to clone human embryos for any purpose, either to provide children to infertile couples or to create embryos to be destroyed in medical research. This is among the findings of a new poll commissioned by the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
The United Nations in March approved a declaration urging nations to ban all forms of human cloning. A complete ban has been approved twice by the U.S. House of Representatives, and endorsed by President Bush, but the Senate has taken no action. The new poll shows widespread support for such a ban, cutting across all demographic categories.
Public sentiment against cloning human embryos to be destroyed in medical research remains strong, despite exaggerated and widely publicized claims by supporters that such cloning is essential to medical "progress." Americans oppose this practice 77% to 15%. They also oppose cloning to produce children for infertile couples, 84% to 10%.
Richard M. Doerflinger, Deputy Director of the USCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, commented on the implications of this poll for H.R. 810, a bill pending in Congress to fund embryonic stem cell research. "Supporters of stem cell research using so-called 'spare' embryos from fertility clinics have long said that moving into human treatments will require specially creating human embryos solely for research. Many say it will require human cloning, using each patient's genetic material to create genetically matched embryos whose cells will not be rejected as foreign tissue. But if the essential next step is one that the vast majority of Americans rightly condemn, what sense would it make to take the first step?"
The questions were part of a national survey conducted by International Communications Research, which polled a weighted sample of over 1000 American adults by telephone on May 6-11. The new poll's results on embryonic stem cell research were released May 16 (see www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2005/05-123.shtml). The ICR questions and results on cloning are attached.
Questions asked by International Communications Research, a national research firm headquartered in Media, Pennsylvania. A weighted sample of 1010 American adults was surveyed by telephone May 6-11, 2005, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.
Should scientists be allowed to use human cloning to try to create children for infertile couples?
Don't Know 5.1%
Should scientists be allowed to use human cloning to create a supply of human embryos to be destroyed in medical research?
Don't Know 7.2%