The United States delayed a vote on a United Nations initiative to ban human cloning for reproductive purposes, saying that the ban should include all forms of human cloning, the New York Times reports. Germany and France initiated the cloning agreement, focusing only on reproductive cloning to act immediately without getting bogged down by the more controversial issue of embryonic cloning for research purposes. The two countries planned to raise the more complicated issues at a later date.
The Bush Administration blocked Germany and France’s proposal with a procedural motion in committee. Critics of Bush’s move argue that the US is poised to halt important research while allowing scientists committed to human cloning for reproductive purposes continue with their plans during the year the vote is delayed, according to the Los Angeles Times. The push for a ban on cloning worldwide began last year when Italian scientist Severino Antinori claimed that he was on his way to creating the first cloned baby.
Scientists argue that an international ban on cloning of embryos for stem cell research would severely impact scientific and medical research into cures for such diseases as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and cancer. A bioethics panel appointed by President Bush earlier this year was unable to reach an agreement as to the ethics of human cloning 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.