ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

27 November 2001


items 1-3 from Human Genetics News' SPECIAL ISSUE ON CLONING
via <>

*Planned Cloning Bill Has Loopholes, Watchdog Says
*Cloning Shows DIsregard for Human Life, Says CWA

Planned Cloning Bill Has Loopholes, Watchdog Says

LONDON (Reuters) - A British independent watchdog group said on Friday an emergency bill to plug a legal loophole would still allow scientists to clone embryos that could be exported to create a cloned human.

"This is because the bill only bans the placing of cloned embryos in a woman,'' Human Genetics Alert (HGA) said.

The group, which campaigns on human genetic issues, said the proposed legislation does not go far enough and insisted a ban on cloning embryos was needed.

"The government must not leave any more loopholes for unscrupulous scientists," Dr. David King, the coordinator of HGA, said in a statement.

British regulations on cloning were thrown into disarray last week by a high court decision that current laws did not explicitly prohibit human reproductive cloning.

The 1990 legislation was challenged in a case brought by anti-abortion group Pro-Life Alliance.

The decision meant the Human Embryology Authority did not have the power to regulate human cloning, opening the door to controversial fertility specialists to set up shop in Britain.

The emergency Human Reproductive Cloning Bill would ''prohibit the placing in a woman of a human embryo which has been created otherwise than by fertilization,'' with a maximum penalty for the offence of 10 years in prison.

A government official said time had been allocated for all stages of the bill to pass through the House of Commons next Thursday.

Britain's biotechnology industry -- the biggest in Europe -- and medical associations welcomed the move to close the loophole.

The BioIndustry Association said it was "totally opposed'' to human reproductive cloning but wanted to see an enlightened environment for scientific research.

Many scientists believe "therapeutic'' cloning using embryonic stem cells could revolutionize medicine by allowing scientists to grow grafts matched to individual patients.

Stem cells -- master cells usually derived from embryos or fetuses that can develop into different types of tissue -- hold promise for treating a range of diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson's and spinal cord injuries.

HGA said it was writing to members of parliament to tell them a ban on cloning embryos would not harm stem cell research or patient interests.
Friday November 23 1:45 PM ET



By Maggie Gallagher
November 26, 2001
From: Frank N. Stein
To: Top Boss
In re: Cloning for Profit and Progress

Dear Sir or Madam:

In line with the Campaign's security policies and in deference to your wish to remain out of the publicity glare, I am forwarding this progress report through the usual back channels.

The news is splendid: The Campaign for Cloning for Profit and Progress is all proceeding according to the master plan. U.S. News swallowed our bait, hook, line and sinker: "The First Human Clone" screamed the headline, and then -- get this -- "Scientists Have Finally Cloned a Human Embryo." Could any one headline sum up more blatantly, er,  succinctly the message we here at the Campaign have been seeking so diligently, and may I say in the face of certain most inconvenient facts, to promote?

It is not just the complete absence of moral blather, those thoroughly irritating doubts novices sometimes raise about manufacturing human embryos for commercial purposes -- no, no. The essential talking points  (you may have seen a version in the fab press release issued by Advanced Cell Technology) are all here: The FIRST -- Americans love firsts. And LIFESAVING -- doesn't get more noble than that, eh?

The Wall Street Journal chimed in on the key point -- success, sweet dollar-sign-producing success -- by telling the business community, "Stem-Cell Researchers Make Cloned Embryos of a Living Human ... Reaching the 6-Cell Stage."

Six cells from one! Now that's what I call making lemons of lemonade. Stories like these will be sure to help keep those venture capital dollars flowing the right direction, eh, boss?

One caveat: Could you do something about Dr. West, the head of Advanced Cell Technology Inc.? Despite our best efforts to keep him on board, he cannot seem to keep his mouth shut -- in public! -- about the "benefits and pitfalls," as the WSJ puts it, of "genetically engineering the human species." That's therapy! Therapy, good doctor, not genetic engineering! Words are so much more important than facts. As a scientist, poor fellow, he has a hard time grasping certain truths.

Another minor failure: The House voted this summer to ban all human cloning. A very bad sign indeed, except fortunately there are lots of aging senators intensely interested in the benefits of therapeutic -- such a nice word! -- cloning. Our operatives have managed to persuade key elites that consuming human young is their only hope for a fountain of life and health. And besides, embryos don't make campaign contributions, do they? (chuckle)

One dark cloud, boss: The New York Times, usually so easily distracted, has unaccountably latched onto the facts.

Our experiment in therapeutic human cloning was, as you know, an utter debacle. All the humans cloned died before we could even turn them into little, profit-making stem-cell factories. "It's a complete failure," Dr. George Sedel, that so-called cloning expert at Colorado State University, had the nerve to tell the NYT. And they even had the gall to report we paid young women up to $5,000 to give us eggs to experiment upon. (Memo to self: Are the release forms iron-clad? Wouldn't want some creative litigators accusing us of misleading impressionable young ladies, would we?) (NB: Check state laws for future reference. Here in
Massachusetts, I am sure, there is no problem, but is donating one's potential child for the purpose of killing it and using its flesh prosecutable as a form of child abandonment? With these six-cell babies, it's hard to see any legal risk, but when we reach the organ-harvesting stage, well, best be prepared. Thank you-know-who for Roe! No pun intended! (tee-hee)

But heck, who pays attention to that old gray lady any more anyway! Whichever operative wrote the Advanced Cell Technology press release was really first-rate. Our dead clones "provide the first proof that reprogrammed cells can supply tissues for transplantation."

Brilliant! Brilliant! Next time, can we at least clone him?

(Readers may reach Maggie Gallagher at


Cloning Shows Disregard for Human Life, Says CWA

U.S. Newswire
26 Nov 14:49

Cloning Shows Disregard for Human Life, Says CWA; Biotech Industry Uses Patients As Pawns In Drive To Produce Humans As Spare Parts
To: National Desk
Contact: Rebecca Riggs of Concerned Women for America,
202-488-7000; Web site:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 26 /U.S. Newswire/ --

The following was released today by Concerned Women for America (CWA):

Advanced Cell Technology announced this weekend it cloned human embryos, an act of utter disregard for human life. Cloning is the manufacture of human embryos to use as raw material for experimentation. Noble excuses cannot hide the ignoble process that views the smallest of human beings as spare parts.

Supporters of cloning look for excuses to turn human beings into commodities. But what patients of debilitating diseases need are cures, not scientists who push controversial and dangerous theories to get attention and funding for themselves.

And cures are being found -- through ethical research. Every week new discoveries are announced, yet they receive no attention because they are not controversial. On Nov. 12, Japanese scientists reported that adult stem cells taken from patients' own hip bones were used to repair heart damage. Scientists at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia reported on Nov. 11 that they can convert adult human bone marrow cells into brain cells in the laboratory.

In the biotech industry's drive to have no barriers, no questions asked, no limits on their Frankenstein experiments, patients are being used as pawns and given false hopes. Treatments for debilitating diseases exist using ethical means. Other treatments could become viable if given the funding and attention being lavished on cloning and embryonic stem cells.

Sandy Rios, president of Concerned Women for America, stated: "The virtue of this latest announcement is that this method is supposed to be 'therapeutic.' Somehow that word is supposed to make us feel better about using our offspring as disposable parts.

"Is there a line we should draw, and if so who should draw it?
Should scientists excited in the moment, driven by their need to discover, or the corporations who hire them, driven by their desire for profit, decide? Ethicists, theologians, or just plain American citizens are in a better position to be objective about the morality of 'marketing' and 'producing' human life for healing purposes.

"We call on the Senate to take up the ban on human cloning, which the House has already approved and President Bush is eager to sign."

Concerned Women for America is the nation's largest public policy women's organization.



From: "Lucinda Hall" <> [shortened]

What can you do? Use the AFL-CIO toll-free number to call Congress 1-800-393-1082. You will have to enter a zip code in order to reach representatives from your area.

Tell them you are a constituent (if you are) or that you live in their area. Tell them you oppose Fast Track and you want to know if they do too.

You can also send an email message to Congress NOW by visiting:
enter your zip code in the Take Action Now field.

For more information on Fast Track see:

For more information on the FTAA see: or contact
OCA at

Messages such as this come via the Greenpeace e-mail list. If you like, you can get on their email list at:

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