After seven months of debate, the President’s Bioethics Council released a report today announcing that the 18-member panel was unable to reach consensus on the highly contentious cloning issue. This indecision reflects a similar split in the Senate that has stalled legislation banning cloning in Congress. While views differ on cloning research for therapeutic purposes, both bodies have expressed overwhelming opposition to cloning for reproductive purposes.
The panel’s majority – which includes 10 of the 18 members – approved a four-year moratorium on cloning research in the hopes that the extra time would help make their case for a complete ban of cloning. Meanwhile, the panel’s minority stated that it is imperative for research to continue. A senior administration official characterized the report as “consistent with the president’s core view, which is that all human cloning is wrong and should not be authorized,” according to the New York Times.
The panel, led by Leon R. Kass a bioethics professor at the University of Chicago, was established to determine whether scientists should be permitted to clone human embryos for research. The Feminist Majority, along with other advocates, believes that cloning research should continue unheeded because cloned embryos are the ideal source of stem cells, which are used for researching new treatments and cures for many diseases.