Cloning Decisions Should Not Be Made By Congress, Libertarians Say

July 7, 2008 - 8:03 PM

( - Congress should not have prohibited human cloning, because it is "one of the most exciting and important scientific breakthroughs of the last 100 years," the Libertarian Party said Wednesday.

"Politicians should not have vetoed the creation of new human life. Yes, cloning of human beings does raise serious ethical issues, but those issues are best addressed by individuals, doctors, and scientists, not politicians," said Libertarian Party chairman Steve Dasbach in Washington.

Libertarians, instead support "reproductive freedom of choice for Americans, whether they choose to reproduce using the traditional method, or artificial insemination, or in-vitro fertilization or cloning," according to Dasbach.

He also said he understands the "squeamishness" about cloning human beings but believes it's important to separate reality from fantasy.

"Critics warn that cloning could create armies of identical Frankenstein-like people. But cloning can't re-create an individual human being, with his or her unique personality, beliefs, talents, and goals," Dasbach said.

"It can only reproduce a genetically identical 'blank slate' upon which a new personality, formed by experience and learning, will emerge. The only difference is that with cloning, the genetic material would come from one parent, rather than two. And that's not enough of a reason for the U.S. House to vote to ban it," he added.

The House voted 265-162 on Tuesday to ban all cloning of human embryos. President Bush was happy with the House action.
"The moral issues posed by human cloning are profound and have implications for today and for future generations," the president said in a statement at the White House.

"Today's overwhelming and bipartisan House action to prohibit human cloning is a strong ethical statement, which I commend. We must advance the promise and cause of science, but must do so in a way that honors and respects life," Bush said.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, (D-S.D.) said he opposes cloning "under virtually any circumstances."

Daschle told reporters on Capitol Hill, "I do think that there are limits to what we can do morally with embryonic stem cell research, and this is a good illustration."

The House measure would set penalties of up to 10 years in prison and fines of $1 million or more for human cloning.

See Earlier Story:
Human Cloning Bill Passes in the House (July 31, 2001)