Greens/EFA Demand a Comprehensive Ban on Human Cloning
THE GREENS/EFA IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
Strasbourg, 6 September 2000
Human Cloning Debate
The Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament, which has been instrumental in organising today's debate with the Commission, is demanding a comprehensive ban on human cloning techniques, following the British government's recommendation that medical research using human embryos created by cell nuclear replacement (essentially the same production method as for Dolly the sheep) should be permitted. The Group has therefore introduced a Resolution before Parliament which states that "therapeutic cloning", which involves the creation of human embryos solely for research purposes, poses a profound ethical dilemma, crosses an irreversible boundary in research norms and is contrary to public policy as adopted by the European Union.
Hiltrud Breyer MEP (Germany) said "The distinction which some scientists and the British government are seeking to make between so-called "therapeutic cloning" and " reproductive cloning" in humans is a false one. In practice the technique of producing embryos by cell nuclear transfer is the same and the move to permit such research represents an erosion of established ethical values. We cannot permit the deliberate production of human embryos as though they were simply a disposable commodity." She added "We already have an agreement at EU level that Community funds should not be used for research into such techniques. The recommendation of the British government is therefore in direct conflict with this policy and we wish to ensure that EU funds are not used, either directly or indirectly, for these purposes.
The Greens/EFA Group considers that such an important issue should be dealt with at international level. Paul Lannoye MEP (Belgium), Group President, said "Whilst there are undoubted advances in medical knowledge to be made from human genetics, there are alternative research models which do not require the artificial production of embryos in this way. We need strict legal, ethical and social constraints on such activities in order to prevent abuses of this knowledge. We wish therefore to see a universal ban at the level of the United Nations on all human cloning techniques, including "therapeutic" uses. The EU is currently involved in drawing up a Charter of Fundamental Rights and this is clearly an issue which also deserves full attention in that document."