Senate Ban Needed

(This article courtesy of the Arlington Catholic Herald.)

“Yesterday’s disturbing news about the cloning of humans at the embryonic stage of life should set off a four-alarm wake-up call in the U.S. Senate,” said House Majority Leader Dick Armey.

Since July 31, when the House passed a comprehensive ban on cloning, “we have all waited patiently while the Senate Democratic leadership refused to act,” Armey said.

The House voted 265-162 in favor of the Weldon-Stupak Bill (H.R. 2505), which would ban all cloning of human beings, including human embryos. “Let’s be clear,” Armey added. “We are in a race to prevent amoral, scientifically suspect tinkering with the miracle and sanctity of life. It’s time for the Senate to put the deal-making aside and join the House in banning human cloning — before it’s too late.”

The Senate is scheduled to vote on the legislation in February or March.

“This corporation is creating human embryos for the sole purpose of killing them and harvesting their cells,” said Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee. “Unless Congress acts quickly, this corporation and others will be opening human embryo farms.

“Any Senator who votes against the ban on human cloning will be voting to approve human embryo farms opening for business soon,” he said.

“Each of us began our individual life as an embryo. We were human when we were embryos, and these cloned embryos are human lives, too. Once begun, human lives — including human lives begun by cloning — should be protected, not killed to provide biological raw material.”

The U.S. bishops, in their recently pro-life plan “A Campaign in Support of Life,” said, “some seek ways to alleviate human diseases through research that involves the deliberate destruction of human embryos. Such research, it is claimed, will enhance human life, when in actuality it ‘reduces human life to the level of simple biological material to be freely disposed.’”

The bishops said these embryos that are targeted for experimentation often were created in laboratories by in vitro fertilization in attempts to assist couples struggling with infertility.

“Such efforts, however, embrace the manufacturing of human life without considering the consequences, including the many ethical dilemmas resulting from such misuse of scientific technology,” the bishops said.

Catholic News Services reported last week that the Vatican immediately condemned news of the cloning and rejected claims that the research produced simple cells and not human individuals.

The Vatican said that despite the scientists' stated humanitarian aims, the research represents a new form of discrimination against defenseless people. The Vatican, responding to what the scientists referred to as an “early embryo,” rejected the claim that no human had been cloned.

It is “beyond doubt, as indicated by the researchers themselves, that here we find ourselves before human embryos and not cells, as some would have (people) believe,” the Vatican said.

The Vatican said the determination of when human life begins cannot be fixed by convention to a certain stage of embryonic development, but instead was found “in the first instant of existence of the embryo itself.”

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