News Articles

ABA nod to research cloning no surprise, pro-lifers say

WASHINGTON (BP)–Americans should pay little attention to an endorsement of human cloning for research purposes recently approved by the country’s leading lawyers organization, a Southern Baptist ethicist said.

The American Bar Association’s resolution opposes legislation that would prohibit medical research cloning. The ABA’s House of Delegates passed the measure by voice vote at its annual meeting.

Pro-lifers expressed no surprise at the resolution.

“While there are exceptions to every rule, and there are many attorneys who are godly Christian people, one would have to say that on the whole America would be ill advised to consult the American Bar Association for advice on moral and ethical questions,” said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

The resolution demonstrates “why so many Americans are coming to see the ABA more as a politicized lobby group than as a professional legal association,” a spokeswoman for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said.

“Once again, the ABA has decided to choose sides in a public debate of profound moral and social consequence,” the USCCB’s Cathleen Cleaver said. “And it has once again positioned itself against life.

“The ABA therefore adds its name to the cloning advocates who favor creating life in the laboratory solely to destroy it for research at the embryonic or even fetal stage,” she said.

The resolution, which favors the prohibition of reproductive cloning, targets a comprehensive cloning ban approved by the House of Representatives but stalled in the Senate. The Human Cloning Prohibition Act, S. 1899, would bar cloning for both reproductive and research purposes.

The other four Senate cloning proposals would ban only reproductive cloning. They would allow the cloning of human embryos in order to obtain stem cells for research into cures for various diseases. Cloning for research requires the destruction of the embryo.

The House approved its version of a comprehensive ban last year by more than 100 votes. The Senate’s majority, headed by Sen. Tom Daschle, D.-S.D., delayed action, however.

Last year, Daschle promised a vote on cloning by February or March. No vote occurred, and Sen. Sam Brownback, R.-Kan., chief sponsor of S. 1899, rejected Daschle’s plan for debate and votes on cloning legislation when it was offered in June because he believed it unjustly placed his legislation at a disadvantage. It appears there may be no vote on cloning before the Senate adjourns in October.

President Bush has endorsed a comprehensive ban.

The ABA’s Aug. 13 vote came five days before Pope John Paul II reiterated his opposition to cloning, genetic engineering, abortion and euthanasia while speaking to about 2 million people in Krakow, Poland.

According to The Washington Post, the pope said, “Frequently man lives as if God does not exist and even puts himself in God’s place. He claims for himself the Creator’s right to interfere in the mystery of human life … to determine human life through genetic manipulation and to establish the limit of death.”