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April 18, 2002|
Individuals and organizations from social conservatives to environmental liberals have hailed President Bush's support of Senator Sam Brownback's legislation (S.1899) banning the cloning of human beings in the United States. Last week, President Bush spoke to a gathering of opinion leaders assembled in the East Room of the White House in an effort to rally grass roots support for the bill and to urge Senators to pass the measure.
In his speech on April 10, the President said, "Life is a creation, not a commodity. Our children are gifts to be loved and protected, not products to be designed and manufactured. Allowing cloning would be taking a significant step toward a society in which human beings are grown for spare body parts, and children are engineered to custom specifications; and that s not acceptable."
He continued; "Our age may be known to history as the age of genetic medicine, a time when many of the most feared illnesses were overcome. Our age must also be defined by the care and restraint and responsibility with which we take up these new scientific powers.
"Advances in biomedical technology must never come at the expense of human conscience. As we seek what is possible, we must always ask what is right, and we must not forget that even the most noble ends do not justify any means.
"Science has set before us decisions of immense consequence. We can pursue medical research with a clear sense of moral purpose or we can travel without an ethical compass into a world we could live to regret."
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) has delayed consideration of the Brownback bill twice before. Now, it looks as though it may not reach the Senate floor until late May or even June, if at all. President Bush has made clear the urgency of this matter. We urge everyone who reads this briefing, and particularly the people of South Dakota, to bombard Senator Daschle with messages demanding that S. 1899 be considered without further foot dragging. (Captiol Switchboard: 202/224/3121)
Our friends on Capitol Hill have told us that numerous Republican senators have not signed on to the Brownback bill, nor have they committed to vote for it. In addition, Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) a physician whose opinion on this matter is considered important by both the President and some senators, has endorsed the bill, but with an alarming caveat. According to the Associated Press (4/9/02) he said he favored changing a provision that would make it a crime for a doctor to use a cure developed overseas from human cloning so we don t inadvertently hurt or prevent future public good. The provision Senator Frist referred to is Section 302 (b) of S. 1899 which says, It shall be unlawful for any person or entity, public or private, knowingly to import for any purpose an embryo produced by human cloning, or any product derived from such embryo.
There is no good, public or otherwise, that can come from the cloning of human beings. The people of Tennessee and Americans in general must do what we can to dissuade Senator Frist from attempting to use his considerable influence to undermine the Brownback bill by striking this section of the bill. The United States must set the standard of respect for human life and dignity for the rest of the world. What is the point of banning the cloning of humans if we are going to allow importation of cloned embryos or products derived from killing them?
Instead of banning outright experiments on stem cells derived from killed human embryos, the Bush administration opted for a compromise allowing research on only those cell lines taken from embryonic babies who had already been killed. That decision will, in our opinion, make it nearly impossible to prohibit wholesale embryonic stem cell research in the future. We must avoid a similar trap when it comes to cloning humans. Please contact Senator Brownback to urge him to stand fast and not allow Section 302 (b) to be watered down or removed. In addition, please contact your own Senators and tell them you expect them to vote FOR S. 1899.
Please express your appreciation to President Bush.
(White House Switchboard 202/456-1414; Fax: 202/-456-2461
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