Comments: "Divide Undercuts [Conservative] Clone-Ban Effort"

Irving News Comments
Copyright March 18, 2005
Reproduced with Permission

Note in this article the fact that IVF "research" has been given an absolute green light to do any and all kinds of research that are IVF-related for decades now, and the acknowledgement that this routinely involves producing new living human embryos by in vitro fertilization for the express purpose of using them in purely destructive IVF research studies. But what the article doesn't mention is that this IVF research also involves a whole lot more than just fertilizing human embryos in vitro. As a quick ride through PubMed searches will reveal, it also involves research involving the production of "research embryos" using just about every kind of human cloning and human genetic engineering technique to date. Such "research embryos" are then used as "infertility treatments" for unsuspecting infertile IVF clinic patients -- especially problematic for them because the formal definition of "reproductive cloning" (including that of the NAS) requires the BIRTH of the cloned human being. This means that until birth, there is no human being present, and that researchers and clinicians are NOT performing "reproductive cloning" -- thus are not legally liable for practising it. No wonder that any restrictions or prohibitions on this now-routine practice is found alarming to IVF "professionals".

Note too the fascile argument by radical feminist bioethicist Alta Charo and others that "research cloning" was sanctioned by our National Academy of Sciences as "stem cell research". The chairman of the two NAS committees that found that the use of nuclear transfer "for research purposes only" was not cloning -- just "stem cell research" -- was none other than physician Irving Weissman of California Prop. 71 fame, who along with Nobelist Paul Berg have had a heavy handed influence on other state legislatures to pass similar egregious "stem cell" bills using similar egregious fairy tale science. (See Irving, "Missouri: Fairy Tales Abound in Human Cloning Debates" (Feb. 12, 2005), at:, and at

The real question to ask is, how do these "scientists" and "committees" keep getting away with it? For an extensive scientific analysis of these very deceptive NAS reports, and of the fairy tale "science" of Weissman, Michael West, et al, please see Irving, "What Human Embryo? Funniest Mental Gymnastics from Medicine and Research" (Oct. 14, 2004), at: [Dianne Irving, Ph.D.],1283,66940,00.html

Wired News
March 18, 2005
Kristen Philipkoski

Divide Undercuts Clone-Ban Effort

Discussions about human cloning legislation are heating up once again, with two opposing conservative camps vying for the best strategy to outlaw the practice.

On Thursday, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) reintroduced a bill to ban human cloning that has failed to pass twice since 2001. The bill would ban both reproductive cloning, which would lead to a baby, and therapeutic cloning of the type researchers believe could lead to treatments for human diseases.

But a new group has entered the debate. Led by Leon Kass, chair of the President's Council on Bioethics, and Eric Cohen, editor in chief of The New Atlantis, a conservative journal on technology and society, the group says Brownback's strategy is flawed.

Brownback's bill "appears unlikely to succeed in the next Congress as well," the group wrote in a document listing its goals. The American Journal of Bioethics blog published text from the document.

Titled "Bioethics for the Second Term: Legislative Recommendations," the group's plan says in part: "Meanwhile, South Koreans successfully cloned human embryos; British HFEA authorizes human cloning-for-research; Harvard scientists get permission to do human cloning-for-research; a right to do such research is constitutionalized in California and endorsed in several other states. We did not get the preferred convention passed at the United Nations. We have lost much ground." Kass did not respond to an e-mail and a phone call before press time. Cohen referred Wired News to his editorial in The New Atlantis when asked for comment.

Instead of linking therapeutic and reproductive cloning -- a tactic that has caused Brownback's bill to languish -- Kass and a group of influential conservative individuals want to prevent cloning by prohibiting the production of extra embryos for research.

The problem with that approach, some researchers say, is that scientists trying to improve in vitro fertilization, a common fertility treatment, often using IVF to create embryos that are studied and then destroyed.

"These embryos are not destined for reproductive purposes; they are made for research in order to improve the practice of IVF for our patients," said R. Alta Charo, a professor of law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. "I think that once this is understood, given the widespread public acceptance of IVF, it will not be hard to argue that it would be insane to forbid the crucial research needed to ensure that a common medical practice is safe and effective for our patient population."

The United States is one of the few developed countries without legislation regarding human cloning. Debates have fallen apart amidst squabbling over when human life begins and the inability to separate reproductive cloning from therapeutic cloning.

Michael West, CEO of Advanced Cell Technology, said it should not be up to Congress to decide whether cloning for research, also known as somatic cell nuclear transfer, should proceed.

"It's important for medicine and science to go through the normal channels," West said. "That's why we have the National Academies of Science that formally recommends to Congress a position on things. It has already written a formal report and held a hearing giving advice to Congress."

The National Academies of Science determined in a 2002 report that cloning for research performed according to specific guidelines should be allowed.

Researchers want to use cloned human embryos to develop disease-specific stem-cell lines that could teach them how to interfere with the progress of diseases, or to create cell therapies derived from cells cloned from a patient so they wouldn't be rejected.

Meanwhile, Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colorado) has requested that the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services investigate Kass. Using his role as chair of the President's Council on Bioethics to spearhead the effort to influence Congress on cloning legislation may be inappropriate behavior, according to DeGette. Kass has insisted his role on the council is separate from his efforts on cloning law.

"We would hope he would concentrate on giving a balanced view on bioethics," said Bernie Siegel, president of the Genetics Policy Institute, a pro-therapeutic-cloning organization, "rather than spending his time assisting the extreme lobby seeking to outlaw" research into human cloning therapies.