Comments: "Britain to defy UN over therapeutic cloning ban"

Irving News Comments
Copyright February 27, 2005
Reproduced with Permission

Britain -- like so many other countries at the U.N. -- keeps getting away with such unethical research because it has always based it on the fake and mythological "pre-embryo" (or its "substitutes") -- even though the term has been formally rejected for years now by the international Terminologia Embryologica Nomenclature Committee (formerly, Nomina Embryologica Committee), consisting of 20-23 academically credentialed human embryologists from around the world. There is no such thing as a "pre-embryo" -- but who's caring?

The fake term "pre-embryo" was explicitly invoked in Britain's laws on human embryo, human cloning, and human embryonic stem cell research since formally adopted by the Warnock Committee in 1985. British mouse researcher Anne McLaren, quoted below, was specifically the person who coined the term in her testimony before the Warnock Committee. [Simultaneously, in the United States the fake term was propagated by Jesuit theologian Richard McCormick and frog embryologist Grobstein]. Britain's new law on "stem cell" research (which term includes stem cells derived by cloning human embryos!) now also incorporates the same "pre-embryo substitute" as found in the works of Irving Weissman, Michael West, and our own National Academy of Sciences -- i.e., the immediate product of "nuclear transfer" [cloning!] is NOT a single-cell human ORGANISM – they claim -- if it is going to be used in "therapeutic research". Rather, it is just a "cell" that is allowed to grow to the blastocyst stage as a "ball of cells", then killed for its "stem cells". So like Weissman et al, they are just doing "stem cell research" -- not cloning! Right. However, all human beings begin their existence as single-cell human organisms – that’s the way human beings are supposed to look at that stage of development. Indeed, that is Stage One of the Carnegie Stages of Early Human Development! If these pro-cloners were required to use the real objectively accurate science, they would not be able to get away with this. But then who's caring?

McLaren is correct, however, about the inadequacy of the use of the term "human life" in the U.N. "declaration". A human kidney cell or a human skin cell can be considered as possessing "human life", but they are not human BEINGS, human ORGANISMS. They are "cells", parts of human beings -- not human beings themselves. Instead of forcing the hands of those who claim "confusion" about "when a human being begins" and requiring them to use the objective scientific facts known internationally for decades, it seems that such objective scientific facts are going to continue to be ALLOWED to be left up to the subjective "opinions" of each country. Now even well-established empirically verified objective scientific biological facts are culturally "relative". Where does this continuing charade lead? (Dianne Irving, Ph.D.)
February 27, 2005

Britain to defy UN over therapeutic cloning ban

THE British government is to defy a United Nations call to ban therapeutic cloning, arguing that it will not be press-ganged into giving up its world-leading position on stem-cell research.

John Reid, the Westminster health secretary, has said that while Britain backs a global ban on human cloning, it flatly rejects the United States-backed attempt to place stem-cell research in the same category.

His stance will infuriate British church groups but has won the applause of scientists who are cloning human embryos in the UK with government funds, something outlawed in the US. The UN last week drafted a declaration calling for its 191 member states to "adopt measures necessary to prohibit the application of genetic engineering techniques that may be contrary to human dignity".

The US said it was delighted and that the resolution clearly means "member states should adopt legislation outlawing all cloning practices". It was backed by 74 other countries at the meeting of the UN Legal Committee.

But Reid said he firmly intends to ignore the declaration, now almost certain to be passed by the UN General Assembly in September. Reid said Britain is determined to remain "open for business" in stem-cell research.

He noted that Britain has banned human cloning and would have backed a UN mandate along these lines. But the US had jettisoned the chance of consensus by seeking to stop all countries stem-cell cloning.

"It is a shame that the UN couldn’t agree to a legally binding worldwide ban on reproductive cloning, simply because a small group of countries intransigently refused to allow countries to make up their own minds on therapeutic cloning."

The British stance was applauded by the growing number of scientists in the field. Anne McLaren, professor of human embryology at Cambridge University, said the UN declaration would be unworkable anyway.

"It says ‘dignity of human life’ - that covers eggs and sperm. It’s a nonsense," she said. "Britain has developed expertise in stem-cell research, which was explicitly allowed by legislation in 2000."

The UK government has so far awarded £16.5m for stem-cell research.

Professor Ian Wilmut, of the Roslin Institute near Edinburgh, who created Dolly the Sheep, was this month granted a licence to clone human embryos for research that it is hoped could lead to a breakthrough in the treatment of motor neurone disease.

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