NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The Nov. 25 announcement that Advanced Cell Technology has cloned human embryos makes it urgent that Congress immediately enact a comprehensive ban on all types of human cloning.
Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) is a Massachusetts biotechnology company “focused on discovering and developing cloning technology for human medicine and agriculture.” By its own admission, ACT performed “human therapeutic cloning” for the purposes of experimentation.
In plain language, ACT admits to — and boasts of — creating cloned human beings to use in experiments. Any type of experimentation that results in the destruction of human embryos is absolutely unconscionable and must be stopped.
On July 31, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 265-162 in favor of HR 2505, the Weldon-Stupak Bill, which would ban all cloning of human beings, including human embryos. The U.S. Senate was prepared to deal with similar legislation in the spring, but ACT’s announcement makes it critical for the Senate to pass a similar bill before leaving for their Christmas break.
We dare not overlook ACT’s public relations strategy. Clearly, the decision to make their shocking announcement on Thanksgiving weekend was calculated to catch our elected officials and others off-guard.
In a time of war and heightened concern for our nation’s security and economy, our nation’s leaders cannot afford to be distracted by a few renegade scientists or profit-minded biotechnology companies intent on creating embryonic human beings through cloning. An immediate ban on human cloning would settle the issue.
ACT’s linguistic strategy must be challenged as well. Those who claim that ACT’s goal is not to create “human beings” but “human embryos” are playing word games. A human embryo is a very young human being and nothing less. In fact, scientists are cloning those embryos precisely because they are human beings.
Cloning human embryos is clearly not “therapeutic.” By its very nature, cloning is reproductive. Scientists who clone do so for the purpose of producing a cloned copy of the original life form. There are no therapeutic benefits for the cloned human being. In fact, the stated purpose of cloning human embryos is to use them for destructive research purposes. The reality is that ACT created human beings to be manipulated and then destroyed.
As Christians we must now decide whether we are going to maintain our silence in the face of this bioethical nightmare that allows the destruction of our tiniest humans for the supposed benefit of older and bigger humans. Unless the answer is a resounding no, the science fiction of Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” will have become science fact – to be followed by all of the barbarous consequences of this downward spiral into a new biotech dark age.
Land is president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.