(1st Add: Includes comments by the Concerned Women for America and the American Center for Law and Justice.)
(CNSNews.com) - President Bush Wednesday urged the Senate to approve legislation for a total ban on human cloning. Speaking at the White House, the president said anything less than a total ban would be "unethical."
Supporters of human cloning say research could provide cures for diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer's and paralysis.
But "the most noble ends do not justify any means," Bush said. "Advances in biomedical technology must never come at the expense of human conscience."
He pointed out that Chinese scientists "have derived stem cells from cloned embryos created by combining human DNA and rabbit eggs. Others have announced plans to produce cloned children, despite the fact that laboratory cloning of lab animals have led to spontaneous abortion and terrible, terrible abnormalities."
"Human cloning is deeply troubling to me and to most Americans. Life is a creation, not a commodity," Bush said. "Our children are gifts to be loved and protected, not products to be designed and manufactured."
The president said allowing research cloning, "while forbidding the birth of a human child," would lead to the destruction of human life, and allowing cloning for research only - even with restrictions - would be "virtually impossible to enforce."
"Once cloned embryos are available implantation would take place. Even the tightest regulations and [strict] policing would not prevent or detect the birth of cloned babies," Bush said, adding that "the benefits of research cloning are highly speculative."
Evidence shows, he said, that cells derived from cloned embryos might be rejected.
"Yet even if research cloning were medically effective, every person who wanted to benefit would need an embryonic clone of his or her own to provide the designer tissues. This would create a massive national market for eggs and egg donors and exploitation of women's bodies that we cannot and must not allow," Bush said to a round of applause.
He expressed faith in the benefits of adult stem cell research and referred to his announcement last year on embryonic stem cell research on a limited number of existing stem cell lines.
"This year for the first time federal dollars will go towards supporting human embryonic stem cell research consistent with the ethical guidelines I announced last August," the president said. "Adult stem cells that do not require the destruction of human embryos, and which yield tissues that can be transplanted without rejection, are more versatile than originally thought."
Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), a heart surgeon and the only medical doctor in the United States Senate, informed his Senate colleagues last night of his support for a cloning ban. Frist's and the president's stance on cloning received applause from the Concerned Women for America, the nation's largest public policy women's organization.
"Thank God for President Bush and Sen. Frist who have the patience to remind us that we are not gods. Even if we have the power to create human life, we do not have the right to destroy it for utilitarian purposes," CWA President Sandy Rios said in a statement Wednesday.
The American Center for Law and Justice, an international public interest law firm, also praised the president.
"This is a tremendously important opportunity to protect human life," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ, who attended a White House meeting on cloning.
"A total ban on human cloning is not only the correct decision from a political standpoint, it is essential to the preservation of human life. While there is tremendous support for advancements in medical science, such progress should never occur at the expense - and destruction - of human life," Sekulow added.
"The president's decision to elevate the cloning issue in this manner underscores his commitment to life. And, we're hopeful this high profile push will break the logjam on this issue in the Senate," he said.
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