In a statement today, Concerned Women for America (CWA) praised a United Nations declaration, passed this morning, which condemns all forms of human cloning.
84 countries, including the U.S. voted in support of the declaration, which calls the practice of human cloning “incompatible with human dignity and the protection of human life."
A reported 34 countries voted against the resolution while 37 countries abstained.
The Declaration was initiated by delegates from Honduras who also called on nations to “prevent the exploitation of women”, citing that the act of cloning requires the harvesting of eggs from women.
Cindy Wright, CWA’s senior policy director commented that, "This Declaration sets an international standard that places human dignity and life as a priority. Even scientists should be bound by ethics."
According to CWA, many delegates, especially those from poor or developing countries “expressed concern that poor women would be targeted to extract the vast numbers of eggs that would be needed, inevitably inflicting painful, dangerous and invasive procedures on vulnerable women.”
The declaration ends nearly three years of heated U.N. deadlock on the issue.
Wright added that, "Belgium, the United Kingdom, Singapore and other countries that hope to profit from cloning humans refused to agree to ban all forms of cloning”, but that “these pro-cloning countries lost support as other countries became aware it would violate the human rights of cloned embryos” as well as women who would be used to harvest the eggs required.
CWA added that the declaration includes a proposal “calling for wealthier nations to direct attention and funding to pressing medical issues such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.”
It also “condemns all applications of any genetic engineering techniques that threaten human dignity”.
Meanwhile, noted scientists and ethicists gathered for the "Global State of Stem Cells and Cloning" conference in Rome broke into spontaneous applause at the announcement that the UN passed a political declaration banning human cloning by a nearly three-to-one margin (84 for; 34 against; 37 abstentions).
Two members of the President's Council on Bioethics attending the conference in Rome praised the decision.
Dr. Alfonso Gomez-Lobo of Georgetown University said, "I am very happy to hear the outcome of this vote because it seems to me that human cloning would be passing a barrier that would be detrimental for humanity because in the name of our imposing a genome on other human beings we would be violating their dignity."
Council member and Stanford professor Dr. William Hurlbut also approved the vote. "I applaud this important declaration. These are truly species issues. We need a global standard on which to ground our biotechnology -- one that respects human dignity and opens positive prospects of scientific developments," he said.
Noted author and ethicist Wesley J. Smith said, "The UN has powerfully demonstrated that naked science is not the be-all and end-all of the pursuit of human progress. Morality matters too. The task for us now is to work together as a world community to develop a thriving and moral biotechnology sector that both alleviates human suffering and remains within proper ethical boundaries."