.- A United Nations committee meeting in special session this week could announce as early as today an agreement on human cloning. According to the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, “Pro-life groups hope that the result of today's deliberations will be the adoption a political declaration that condemns all forms of human cloning that violate the protection of human life.”
The committee first began discussing the issue in 2002, but a lack of consensus has forced the group to postpone any formal declarations.
Although consensus still seems unlikely today, as representatives of many countries are still heatedly split on the debate, many delegates feel a decision is necessary to maintain the UN’s credibility.
The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute commented that “Historically, countries that support human experimental cloning, including China, South Africa, and Belgium have been in the minority”, but they’ve still managed to delay a vote on procedural grounds.
The debate began when, in 2002, France and Germany proposed creating a convention, which would ban human reproductive cloning but still allow human experimental cloning. The U.S. and Spain quickly countered, calling for a ban on all forms of human cloning.
The debate now mainly surrounds language. Nations opposed to all forms of human cloning support the term “human life”, while those in favor of experimental cloning support using the term, “human being”, which could be construed to include only “born” individuals and not the embryos which would be used in experimentation before being destroyed.