U.N. Passes Human Cloning Resolution
AAAS urged the United Nations General Assembly to modify a resolution calling on nations to ban all forms of human cloning. The resolution passed on March 8 as drafted, however, by an 84 to 34 vote, with 37 abstentions.
In a March 7 letter faxed to Jean Ping, the president of the General Assembly, Alan I. Leshner, the chief executive officer of AAAS, reaffirmed the association's position that cloning to extract stem cells for research purposes "holds great promise for contributing to human health and dignity." He noted that AAAS has endorsed a legal ban on efforts to clone embryos for reproduction.
In February, a sharply divided U.N. committee approved the resolution opposing all forms of cloning "that are incompatible with human dignity and the protection of human life." The General Assembly has now adopted that language, which is non-binding and ambiguous enough that nations are expected to interpret it as they see fit.
In his letter, Leshner said the language of the resolution does not draw a sufficiently clear distinction between therapeutic and reproductive cloning. He said that, as a result, it "may needlessly lead to mistaken efforts to impede research that can truly enhance human welfare."
For more information, read the letter.
AAAS Statement on Human Cloning and other AAAS Statements.